GREG Miller was one of the key architects of North Melbourne’s dominance through the 1990s. As chief recruiter and later general manager, he helped build a side that featured in seven preliminary finals and claimed two premierships.
Those North teams, led by the likes of Wayne Carey, Glenn Archer and Anthony Stevens, boasted skill and muscle, something the Kangaroos have not been able to replicate since those heady days – until now.
Miller has watched the Kangaroos intently in recent months and has marvelled at the development of a team that has won eight of its past nine matches heading into tonight’s blockbuster against Collingwood at Etihad Stadium.
”This current group are playing the best football since the late ’90s – the style of footy and the precision,” Miller said.
”It is the best assembled group and skill level that I have seen. Their skill level is fantastic. I have seen their sides that have made finals [in 2007 and 2008] – this side is better. Their football is better.
”I have seen the Kangaroos play all their games recently and I can’t believe they are playing unbelievably good footy.
”They were just miles ahead of Essendon in their movement of the footy [last Sunday]. Everything they did was first class. They have come a long way.
”They are very fit, obviously. They are leading and moving at one end and moving at the other end. They put Essendon to shame in that regard.”
The victory over the Bombers was pivotal, for the Kangaroos dislodged a team that earlier this year was considered a premiership favourite, prompting Carey to declare his former team had now taken the ”next step”.
Now comes an even mightier step, against a Collingwood side that has embarrassed the Kangaroos by an average of 80.5 points in their past four meetings. The Magpies have won all 16 quarters.
”I think they [North] are one of the form sides of the competition,” Carey said.
”Obviously, they have got their troubles now with injury, which they haven’t had, but the way they played on the weekend, they have certainly proved they have improved as a side and winning games that are important to them.
”It feels like they have taken that next step, but once again it’s another challenge this week against arguably the best side in the comp.”
Good management and luck had allowed the Kangaroos to avoid soft-tissue injuries until last weekend, but they have been forced to make three changes with Daniel Wells (calf), Leigh Adams (shoulder) and Nathan Grima (hamstring) out.
Carey said the move to three marking forwards – the developing Robbie Tarrant and Lachie Hansen working alongside veteran Drew Petrie – was working well.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.