‘Jealous’ Roos chasing that finals feeling
After almost 200 games and nine seasons, North Melbourne defender Shaun Atley admits he thought he would have more finals to his name by now.
But like his club, Atley - who has chalked up eight finals appearances with the last of those being almost four years ago - is determined to break his way back into September this year.
"I'm 27 this year and I've played seven or so finals and six of them were in a two-year span, so you'd probably think you'd have a few more," he said.
"I'm definitely hungry to get back there and that's definitely our goal this year as a club.
"We want to play finals and I think the supporters expect that of us as well.
Watch every match of the Marsh Community Series AFL pre-season comp LIVE & On-Demand on KAYO. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
"It starts from the top when (club chief executive) Ben Buckley spoke about how we can't accept that and we want to play finals, so that's definitely the mindset for all of us."
The 197-gamer said he found it difficult to watch finals football from his couch at home, admitting to feelings of envy watching Richmond players hold up the premiership cup last September.
He said some of his teammates avoided the television set at finals time altogether.
"You definitely get jealous," he said.
"It can be hard to watch for sure.
"Some of the boys don't even watch it because they don't want to get that feeling, but we understand and we know it can turn really quickly.
"But at the same time there's a lot of work that needs to go in behind that to get to that stage."
There is a feeling of optimism under coach Rhyce Shaw at Arden St this summer as they push towards the start of their 2020 campaign.
Buckley declared last month the Kangaroos, which last won a premiership in 1999, were "an ambitious club" that is hungry for success. Atley said the players shared in the vision.
"The preparation starts with the small things we do and it leads up and builds and hopefully we're in a good spot this year," Atley said.