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AFL breakthroughs boost Kangaroos' belief
Sam Lienert
09:21 AEST Sat Aug 25 2012
Sam Wright
North Melbourne's Sam Wright says key wins this year have done wonders for their confidence.

North Melbourne utility Sam Wright says wins this year over three AFL clubs that have previously dominated the Kangaroos have done wonders for their confidence.

Entering the season, there were four clubs the Roos were yet to beat in coach Brad Scott's previous two years at the helm - Collingwood, St Kilda, Geelong and Sydney.

Wright said wins over the Cats and Saints earlier this season were rewarding, but last round's 30-point win over the Magpies, who had handed them some major thrashings, topped those.

"There were a few sides which under Brad we hadn't beaten yet and Collingwood was top of that list," Wright told AAP.

"To get over them was a massive confidence-booster.

"The other ones were Geelong and St Kilda.

"We knocked them off too, which has been a real confidence boost for us."

Much has been made of the Kangaroos' slick ball movement and potent attack, as the competition's second-highest scoring side this year.

But Wright said it was actually a defensive focus that had underpinned their hot run of form, with nine wins in their past 10 matches.

"The outside perception of North is we're an attacking side, but within the group it's definitely defence first," he said.

"If we have that defensive mindset to win the ball back then we know the rest will take care of itself."

He said it was the faith in that philosophy which enabled them to steady from an early four-goal deficit against the Magpies.

Those defensive aspects will again be a focus at Etihad Stadium on Sunday to combat a desperate and miserly Fremantle, who are fighting for a finals berth.

"You can definitely see Ross Lyon's coaching coming out in Fremantle, they're a good defensive side and rely a lot on their pressure," Wright said.

"We need to match that, even get above it if we can."

Wright said if they excelled in that aspect of the game, the Kangaroos had great belief that an in-form attack led by tall forwards Drew Petrie, Lachie Hansen and Robbie Tarrant would deliver.

He was confident there would be no mental let-down after the breakthrough win over the Magpies, despite the Kangaroos being able to afford a loss and still play finals.

Both sides are unchanged, although there is a fitness cloud over Fremantle skipper Matthew Pavlich.


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