Kangaroos would have made Clarkson proud: Ratten
Brett Ratten was unsure if Alastair Clarkson was watching but knew his close mate would have been proud of their North Melbourne side.
After a tough week for the club, in which Clarkson stepped away from his coaching post indefinitely, the Kangaroos went agonisingly close to ending their losing streak.
But an interchange infringement in a dramatic final minute gifted Sydney's Hayden McLean a free kick and the match-winning goal in a three-point thriller.
"I'm not sure if he (Clarkson) is watching or not but he would've been very proud of the group today," caretaker coach Ratten said.
"They've been so resilient over a long period. They've had a bit go on and their energy was good.
"To think that it was 2.5 to one point or something at one stage of the game and you think this could get ugly.
"But to find the resilience to keep chipping away and never giving up, that was a pretty proud moment for us to look and watch how they did it for the next three-and-a-half quarters."
Ratten lauded the impact of co-captain Jy Simpkin, Bailey Scott, Callum Coleman-Jones and Ben McKay, who all helped put North Melbourne within a kick of an upset victory.
They led by 16 points during the final term - having booted five straight goals after trailing by 15 points late in the third - but conceded the final three majors of the game.
Ratten was equally pleased with the performances of debutant George Wardlaw and fellow youngsters Harry Sheezel, Eddie Ford and Phoenix Spicer.
North Melbourne dominated clearances (47-27) and were well ahead in the tackle count (73-61).
"It's been a big week but their resilience to get up and perform at that level was really pleasing," Ratten said.
"When you think there's five of them that have played 10 games or under, it's pretty exciting.
"To see how we went about it today was a real step forward.
"We're disappointed we didn't win, given that's what you play footy for, but we're pretty proud of how they went about it."
Ratten is convinced there is further improvement to come as North Melbourne, whose losing streak has reached eight matches, face a huge challenge against Collingwood in round 11.
"There was disappointment, you could see it on their face, but if you play this way and make it a contest for the opposition you're going to win some and lose some," Ratten said.
"We're going to put ourselves in more winning positions if we can keep up that sort of footy and give ourselves a chance."