The big stage looms for North Melbourne’s big men and the key Kangaroos are determined to leave their mark.
Jarrad Waite, Drew Petrie and Ben Brown will look to bound the Roos to their first 6-0 start since 1979 against the Western Bulldogs on Friday night.
It’s an AFL stage befitting the contest, with the leading two sides so far this season competing for top spot of the ladder.
Kangaroos stalwart Jamie Macmillan said the build-up to the Etihad Stadium match felt as big as for any home-and-away match he could remember.
He wants to ensure the performance matches the occasion.
“It does feel like a big occasion. They’re 4-1 and have only lost to the Hawks by three points,” he said.
“We were the pioneers of the big stage all those years ago and every player enjoys playing on Friday night.
“We want a sell-out crowd, the fans want a spectacle and we want to give it to them.”
The ability to hit monster scores has put North Melbourne on top of the ladder and Macmillan says the Kangaroos will keep playing to their strengths.
“You could argue Waite is in career-best form. Drew Petrie is Drew Petrie and Ben Brown is stepping up as well. Why wouldn’t you kick it to them?” he said.
“That’s how we’re kicking (goals) at the minute and everyone likes to see the big guys take big marks.
“When we’ve got highly skilled players like Brent Harvey and Higgo (Shaun Higgins) hitting the ball on the ground too.”
The Kangaroos are playing down the impact of injuries to key Bulldogs Jason Johannisen and Matt Suckling, believing replacements Shane Biggs and Jed Adcock to be very able replacements.
Like coach Brad Scott did earlier in the week, Macmillan says the focus on stoppages and contested ball will hold the Kangaroos in good stead.
“The basis of our game is around ability to pressure the ball,” he said.
“The ability to hang in with games and pressure the opposition, get turnovers and get scoring the other way has allowed us to win a few games in previous years that we would have lost.”