North Melbourne midfielder Ryan Bastinac says his AFL side must fix mid-game lapses if they’re to shake off the ‘Jekyll an Hyde’ tag.
A 75-point win over GWS boosted North Melbourne’s confidence and percentage, but Ryan Bastinac knows his AFL side must not paper over the cracks.
With three games to play before a likely finals campaign, consistency remains key for a team that has rolled Hawthorn, Sydney and Fremantle this season but lost to Brisbane, Carlton and Gold Coast.
That means banking another victory when the Kangaroos clash with 14th-placed Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
But also playing each quarter at the same intensity, something that didn’t happen last Saturday when the Giants threatened to take control of the contest during the second term.
“It was a good win, but the first half was something we focused on pretty heavily this week,” Bastinac said.
“There’s a lot of things to work on and touch up … they got a lot of the ball and denied us possession.
“When we have those lapses, we get scored against pretty easily.
“But in contrast the second half was really good.”
Victory this weekend will go a long way to ensuring Brad Scott’s men are still playing come September.
Defeat could put their finals berth in a degree of jeopardy.
Daniel Wells will return after spending 16 weeks on the sidelines due to a foot injury.
Bastinac is appropriately wary of a Bulldogs outfit that threatened to cause boilovers against Geelong and Essendon in the past six weeks, and will be primed to perform in captain Ryan Griffen’s 200th game.
“They’re in great form. They’ve got a lot of good young players, they remind me a bit of how we were when I first got to the club (in 2009),” he said.
Bastinac added that consistency, not complacency, will be North’s chief focus in the final three rounds when they tackle the Bulldogs, Adelaide and Melbourne.
“It’s only such a small margin that is costing us when we do play those poor games,” the 23-year-old said.
“We need to bridge the gap between our best and worst.
“You look at teams like Geelong and they always seem to get the job done.”