North Melbourne captain backs Noble after reports of player unrest over spray

North Melbourne captain Jack Ziebell believes David Noble had nothing to apologise for after his intense post-match spray aimed at players after their Round 3 loss to Brisbane.

The Herald Sun reported on Monday night that Noble’s post-match address to his players after their 108-point loss had left his players “visibly shocked”, with the senior coach feeling the need to say sorry to his squad just days later.

Numerous AFL legends had their say on Tuesday morning, however Ziebell believes the response has been overblown, with the club skipper “bemused” at the fanfare over the story.

He also noted how the response to the spray from his teammates was impressive, the Roos almost beat the upset of the year when falling just short of Sydney in Round 4.

“It was a little time ago now, but seeing as it’s come to light, it was a pretty disappointing performance from our team that night and in fairness, we’d just lost by over 100 points,” Ziebell began on SEN’s Whateley.

“So the coach gave us a direct message after the game and I think in the coming days he might have reflected upon that and thought that maybe it might have been a little bit too much.

“But my recollection, to be honest, is that he didn’t need to do that (apologise). His message was fair, it was direct, the performance wasn’t up to standard.

“So that was it from my point of view, the following week we got a great response and to be honest, we probably should have beaten Sydney in Sydney… but in terms of a response after a really disappointing week, the players responded really well , so that’s probably where I sit on it.

“I’m a little bit bemused to think this had made such big news, to be honest, off the back of what’s occurred.”

When questioned over Noble’s communication with players, Ziebell was resolute in defending his coach.

“Absolutely not (have there been any concerns over the manner of Noble’s communication),” he continued.

“’Nobes’ (Noble) has been one of the greatest supporters of all our players over the last 18 months and the journey we’re on.

“The direction Nobes has, the way he’s built that direction, he’s got the full support of the players, the club, the coaches, everyone involved at North Melbourne inside the four walls.”

On the topic of whether players found the spray confronting, Ziebell said: “they might have… potentially.”

“But in saying that, I’m sure that if you get beaten at any other football club around Australia, it’s probably going to be a similar response from your coach, and if it’s not then your coach probably doesn’t care too much.

“From my point of view it was well-warranted after that performance, he did what he did after that in response and from that point, I don’t think there’s too much that needs to be said.”

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