AAP AFL

Shaw not convinced about North AFL rebuild

By AAP Newswire

North Melbourne coach Rhyce Shaw isn't convinced the Kangaroos need to enter full-blown AFL rebuild mode for the first time in decades.

Calls for 17th-placed North to overhaul their list came in hot after Sunday's dismal 57-point loss to Melbourne.

It doesn't get any easier for the first-year coach on Saturday when the Roos clash with premiership contenders Brisbane at Metricon Stadium.

Shaw has axed the highly-paid Jared Polec for the second time in a month, while experienced duo Jasper Pittard and Aaron Hall have also been omitted.

Majak Daw's extraordinary AFL comeback has lasted just three games, with the defender left out of the team.

Marley Williams and Mason Wood headline North's six inclusions.

Shaw's focus for the rest of the season is simple: give responsibility to the Roos' younger brigade in the absence of experienced players like Jack Ziebell, Ben Cunnington and Ben Brown.

"I'm not sure about that," Shaw responded to suggestions of a North rebuild.

"We're looking at this as a real opportunity for us (in the next six games). We haven't played the footy we expect to play but we've shown patches that we can do it.

"The end of the season will take care of itself, and every team will be looking to find avenues to get better.

"We'll be doing the same, whether it's free agency or through the draft, we'll be looking at all of those."

North were touted as top-eight contenders this season after a rousing 7-5 finish to 2019 when Shaw replaced Brad Scott as coach.

But after beginning this season 2-0, the Roos have won just one of nine games since as injuries piled up.

North haven't bottomed out in the draft era, which began in 1986, instead focusing on consistently topping up their list.

But the Roos haven't played off in a grand final since winning the last of their four premierships in 1999.

Powerful on-baller Cunnington will remain with the squad in Queensland despite being ruled out for the season due to nerve problems in his back.

North's football manager Brady Rawlings says the club doesn't have any concerns over the 29-year-old's long-term future despite the debilitating nature of his injury.

"He's very comfortable being up here and gaining those benefits being with our physios and strength and conditioning staff," Rawlings said.

"We're making progression, it probably didn't come as fast as what it maybe could of, but we have to treat it day-by-day."