North Melbourne coach, David Noble, apologised, sorry for spray, big loss to Brisbane, On the Couch, Melbourne Demons rebuild

North Melbourne coach David Noble chose to apologise to his players after he effectively “tore strips off” them back in Round 3, with a spray that left some players a “bit emotional”.

The Kangaroos were belted by the Lions in a 108-point defeat, with Noble stating the club should be “embarrassed” in his post-match press conference.

But Fox Footy’s Jon Ralph said Noble was “so concerned” by the nature of his address to the players that he “reflected on it” and apologised days later for his conduct.

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“The Roos had lost to Hawthorn, they had just fallen over the line against West Coast—they only win of the season. He had his father in the stands (in Round 3 against Brisbane), thought ‘We’re a chance here’ and they got absolutely blown off the park,” Ralph told On the Couch.

“It’s not the first time players have told him his feedback has not been as constructive as it might have been.

“It was personal enough in nature that some of the players were shell shocked about, some of them even a bit emotional about it.

“The players were telling him, (the game plan is) too complicated.

“Noble reflected for a couple of days afterwards and said to the players he’d gone too hard.”

North Melbourne is now sitting at a “critical time”, according to On The Couch host Garry Lyon – exactly where reigning Melbourne’s premiers were back in 2013.

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“You identify the fact you may have gone too hard and you try and rebuild some trust in amongst the group,” Lyon praised.

“They need to be able to look at their senior coach and have complete trust.

“The reality is this list is going to get turned over and over.

“Eight years ago, it looked like 50 years before Melbourne would have success – can that happen for North Melbourne.”

Panellists Jonathan Brown and Nick Riewoldt questioned if Noble still had the support of the playing group after a 1-7 start to the season.

“We’ve all been on the end of some pretty fierce (sprays), and the landscape has changed. Players are after more constructive stuff,” Riewoldt said.

North Melbourne press conference | 10:31

“The coach has come in and sprayed the group, the results haven’t changed… it doesn’t take much for the coach to lose the players.”

“If you look at the way they play, they play fast and just get opened up,” Brown said.

“You have to start questioning the coaching tactics.

“At least, compare back to Brisbane – Chris Fagan comes in, and he goes to defence; ‘OK we’re going to be harder to score against’. North Melbourne have gone the other way, they’ve become easy to score against.

“You’ve got to be able to stand for something and as far as I’m concerned, that group doesn’t seem to stand for anything in terms of the way they play.

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