Perspective and perception are the key things.
Ahead of the Toyota 2018 AFL Premiership competition, the Adelaide Crows were tipped as the top contenders for the flag. High expectations led to loud lamentations, but to the Crows’ credit, they did not make Don Pyke into a scapegoat for the plunge to the 12th rung.
Low expectations worked in favour of the North Melbourne Kangaroos.
Ahead of the 2018 campaign, the primary hopes were that the Roos could find their home grounds or the training centre at Arden Street.
When they finished ninth, tantalising supporters and inside the top eight up until Round 14, including a decisive win over eventual champion West Coast Eagles, it was cause for optimism.
That optimism has carried over and will come into play in the upcoming competition.
Coach Brad Scott went hunting for new players to add to the list, finding four that could feature in the top 22.
If his side is as good as his coach-speak, the Roos might make it at least one spot higher and play finals in 2019.
“Absolutely they know that we’re coming,” he told reporters. We’re really building.We’re going to leave nothing out there on the park.What we did last year really shocked some teams. We’re looking to do that again.”
The photos of UFC fighter Israel Adesnya kicking it around with the Roos is not a premonition of a code jump.
Adding Jared Polsec, Aaron Hall and Dom Tyson to the midfield certainly should do no harm and along with securing Jed Anderson, there does not seem to be much in the way of confidence-destroying turmoil at Kangaroo headquarters.
If North Melbourne would have been able to finish stronger in 2018, they would have easily been inside the top eight, but they stumbled down the run home, losing five of their last nine, including losses to clubs that finished lower on the ladder.
They will be keenly watched during the early rounds. They start out with Fremantle and Brisbane in the first two rounds, where they need to show the killer instinct before their Round 3 test with Hawthorn.