North Melbourne face a danger game on Sunday against the 14th-placed Western Bulldogs.
North Melbourne mentor Brad Scott borrowed a line from AFL coaching great Allan Jeans on Thursday, demanding his players pay the price.
The Kangaroos are sixth with an 11-8 win-loss record with three rounds remaining in the home-and-away season, but losses to lower-ranked sides such as Brisbane and Carlton have hurt the club’s top-four chances.
Sunday’s home game against the 14th-placed Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium presents another potential hiccup for the Kangaroos.
Scott is hoping the Bulldogs’ recent form will provide enough evidence to his men that they need to be at the top of their game.
“The Bulldogs have addressed it for us. They’ve won four of their last eight,” Scott told reporters on Thursday.
“Their good footy has been really really good.
“Marcus Bontempelli is an exceptional young player. Jake Stringer has shown everyone what he can do.
“Jackson Macrae has had a great year.
“You add that on top of some young players in Nathan Hrovat coming in as well.
“You got to Robert Murphy, Ryan Griffen, Adam Cooney, Matthew Boyd, Shaun Higgins, Will Minson, the names speak for themselves and their performances are backing that up.
“You pay the price on game day to get the result and if you’re not prepared to pay the price you lose.
“That exists no matter who you play in this competition right at the moment.
“Fremantle and (bottom side) St Kilda a few weeks ago proved that.”