North Melbourne advisor Geoff Walsh has been left in no doubt about the magnitude of their plight after the 112-point AFL hiding from Geelong.
The veteran football administrator returned to Arden St last week in a short-term role as the Kangaroos review their football operations.
Walsh, who was North's football manager for the 1996 and '99 premierships, sat in the coaches' box at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday night to watch their heaviest loss of the season.
It was the stuff of nightmares for last-placed North, who lost Aaron Hall (quad) and Kayne Turner (head knock, knee) to injury in the first quarter.
After a competitive opening term, the Kangaroos were no match for the ruthless Cats and it was only two points short of their biggest losing margin to Geelong.
The belting means more pressure on second-year coach David Noble, who is trying to turn around a 12-game losing streak.
North have lost their last 11 games by 40 points or more, continuing the unwanted AFL record they set the week before.
"It's not pleasant, nights like tonight," Noble said.
"We have to remain really calm and clear on what we have to go to work on.
"We've constantly said about our defence, we'll have to pull that apart again."
He defended the move of starting Ben McKay in attack, which misfired badly.
McKay only had one handball to halftime and was eventually moved back to defence, with Noble saying they had hoped to take advantage of his strong marking.
"Unfortunately, we haven't been able to service him with the ball, so we had to move him ... in the end, we just couldn't get the ball in there," Noble said.
Noble also called on the team's few experienced players to set a better example.
They are missing veterans such as Ben Cunnington and captain Jack Ziebell.
"We need to be more disciplined. We need our leaders to lead the way," he said
"We consistently have downfield free kicks, 50m penalties."
Noble also has to strike a balance between calling his underperforming side to account and managing a team devoid of confidence.
"You still have to celebrate the little bits we do well - I'm still a believer in that growth mindset of understanding what the pieces that we're doing well at times are," he said.
"Then how do we harness that energy?
"We feel that our best footy stacks up okay for a young group - we have some young, really skinny bodies out there.
"You have to keep investing in the things you find that you're actually doing well."
Noble added he's unclear whether No.1 draft pick Jason Horne-Francis and Tarryn Thomas will return for Saturday's match against Collingwood.
Australian Associated Press
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