David Noble hits back at disrespectful call after North Melbourne beats West Coast Eagles, news, updates, scores, highlights

North Melbourne coach David Noble has bristled at “disrespectful” suggestions that his side should’ve won by more against an Eagles side ravaged by COVID-19.

The Kangaroos were able to get their first win of the season after the Eagles were forced into a record 14 changes, but were made to work hard in the 10. 14. (74) to 8. 11. (59) win at Marvel Stadium.

Following the match, Noble said his team still had a lot to be proud of despite their opponents being so undermanned.

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“I think that’s a bit disrespectful to some of the players that have come in for the opposition, to be honest,” he told reporters.

“(Aaron) Black’s won a Sandover Medal and played over 200 games, he’s very good player that unfortunately hasn’t had an opportunity.

“There’s 22 players that are trying to stop us from scoring. I don’t know why there’s all of a sudden just an expectation that we should win this game by x amount.

“We needed to win this game, we needed to go to work. There were some things we didn’t get right, but there was a lot we got right and got better at than last week.

“I think they still had six premiership players, still had some dangerous forwards, still had some guys down back that intercept the ball pretty well.

“We shouldn’t underestimate the fact that we won today and our players got the sense of having to grind a game out. Whether or not we should’ve or shouldn’t have won by more is a little bit irrelevant, we won the game.”

While he was proud of his undermanned side’s performance, West Coast coach Adam Simpson admitted his side could’ve won the game.

“They’re Eagles for life now, those boys,” Simpson said of the Eagles’ top-up players.

“Their sense of belonging should be as strong as anyone’s. Synergy, belief and system, all that stuff was a challenge, but it looked pretty connected to us.

“We could’ve won that, absolutely. We’re disappointed we didn’t win, we came here to win. It’s been bizarre. We’ve had a lot of injuries throughout our pre-season, so it’s been difficult to get synergy.

“We’ve grown over the last couple of years as a club in terms of resilience and dealing with a bit of adversity.

“We want to instil a real sense of belonging at our club, so if you’re with us then you’re one of us.

“Doing that with guys we just met is a challenge, but at the same time we must’ve had 30 players train with us the last three months and every one of those players that have come in, we’ve tried to make them feel welcome.”

The Kangaroos’ efforts were led by skipper Jack Ziebell, who led all players with 29 disposals, with off-season recruit Hugh Greenwood also adding 29 touches of his own. Star forward Nick Larkey was also sensational for North, kicking six of the team’s 10 goals.

Young gun Jason Horne-Francis collected 20 disposals in his second game of AFL football, playing some added midfield minutes after injuries to Luke Davies-Uniacke and Tarryn Thomas.

North Melbourne faces a tough road trip in round three when it travels to Queensland to take on the Brisbane Lions, while the Eagles will face cross-town rivals Fremantle in the first Western Derby of the season.

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