North Melbourne coach Brad Scott admits his team were absolutely “spent” and like “deers in the headlights” in Sunday’s 96-point AFL elimination final loss to West Coast at Patersons Stadium.
The Eagles slammed on the opening nine goals of the match to effectively kill off the contest, with West Coast inflicting further pain in a devastating final-term performance to cruise to the 24.18 (162) to 9.12 (66) victory.
North Melbourne won 10 of their final 12 games of the home-and-away season to surge into their first finals series since 2008.
But a poor lead-in to the finals, in which the Kangaroos lost to Fremantle by 53 points and beat struggling GWS by just 28 points, had Scott fearing the worst.
And on a hot day in Perth, in which the mercury reached 29C, the Kangaroos simply had no answers to the rampant Eagles, who booked a semi-final date with Collingwood at the MCG next Saturday.
Scott said he was proud his team managed to reach the finals, but conceded they had little energy left to mount a genuine challenge.
“We’ve had to expend every little bit of energy and competitiveness that we’ve had to get to this point. By the end they were just absolutely spent,” Scott said.
“The result is bitterly disappointing. I’m shattered.”
Kangaroos veteran Brent Harvey faces a delayed start to his 2013 campaign after giving West Coast midfielder Daniel Kerr a whack to the face in an off-the-ball incident.
On-baller Jack Ziebell could also be in strife from the match review panel after collecting Eagles forward Josh Hill with an elbow to the jaw in a heavy clash of bodies.