Fractures are continuing to emerge at North Melbourne amid a disastrous start to the season, with the players reportedly turning on coach David Noble.
After a bottom-placed finish last year saw the Kangaroos add teen sensation Jason Horne-Francis with the first overall pick in the draft, the Roos were expected to make some progress this season but have won just one of 10 games so far.
Noble’s leadership style has been questioned in the process, with the second-year coach forced to apologise to his players after a verbal barrage which followed a 108-point loss to Brisbane earlier this season.
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According to The Age’s Caroline Wilson, Noble’s relationship with his players is a problem that continues to fester.
“The stories coming out of the club about the relationship between the coach and the players are disturbing,” Wilson told Nine’s Footy Classified.
“It was disturbing last week when news leaked to the Herald Sun about the spray after the Brisbane loss that David Noble had given his players, so bad that he apologised.
“I think that’s a problem when players are talking about that stuff. I’m hearing more and more about players just being disenchanted with the coach… with his temper on occasions.
“We hear reports about David getting very, very frustrated during some performances. The coaches are sort of ‘we’, the players are ‘they’, some of the language you’re hearing about.
“These are the stories I was starting to hear at the end of 2020 with David Teague. It’s just a bit of a worry to me. I’m not saying David Noble’s gone; he’s only a season and a half in. But he’s got a lot of work to do to win back some players.”
Despite the club’s on-field struggles, Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes said the blame should not be on Noble, instead pointing the finger at list boss Glenn Luff.
“I’ve got some sympathy for David Noble because I don’t think he’s got the list that he needs. This isn’t a coaching issue; this is a list issue,” he told Footy Classified.
“I’d love to ask the question: what’s one positive list management move they have made in the last three years?”
Cornes pointed to the Kangaroos’ selection of midfielder Will Phillips at No.3 in the 2020 draft ahead of Logan McDonald, who was subsequently selected by Sydney with the very next pick, as one of Luff’s big misses.
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“Young key forwards are ripping the game apart. You can’t pick players off a computer screen. That’s what I’m saying,” he said.
“There needs to be a process with their recruiting and list management that there hasn’t been. Their list manager is from Champion Data, he spent 20 years there, Glenn Luff, so I would think (analytics) is an element that they saw as a strength of his.
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“How you could possibly overlook Logan McDonald when you’ve let Ben Brown out of the club. Him teaming up with (Nick) Larkey would’ve been ideal.
“North Melbourne, who are stocked in the midfield, go for a midfielder who is my height. I understand he’s had glandular fever and we haven’t seen him play, but is he going to be as damaging as what Logan McDonald has the potential to be?”
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