Coach Brad Scott wants North Melbourne to dream big in the AFL finals series.
He has backed them to have an almighty crack this month, starting with Saturday night’s elimination final against Essendon at the MCG.
Scott says the Kangaroos have never been as resilient in his five years as coach.
Adelaide’s improbable 1998 premiership is the only time under the current finals system that a team has won the flag from outside the top four.
North finished sixth this season after winning their last four games.
When asked if it was possible for a team in the bottom half of the eight to go all the way, Scott replied: “not in the last decade.
“We’ll make some history if we do, but we know the enormity of the challenge.
“This is why we play this game … we’re competitors.
“Competitors want to stand up in September and this is when reputations are made.
“We’ll give it an almighty crack.”
After struggling with inconsistency, North cemented their first finals berth in two years with a solid month of wins.
“The players have grown, they’ve matured, they’re more resilient than they’ve been at any point before in my tenure at the football club,” Scott said.
“I look back and say ‘how did we handle it?’ (their earlier inconsistency) – we handled it with 14 wins.”
North made five changes for the weekend’s win over Melbourne and Scott indicated they will probably do the same for Essendon.
Todd Goldstein, Lindsay Thomas, Luke McDonald, Michael Firrito and Levi Greenwood all missed the Melbourne game.
Lachie Hansen could be in doubt with a sore hip and Leigh Adams suffered a heavy knock against the Demons.
“No-one is definite this week – we have some really good problems,” Scott said of the five players who are likely to return.
“We’re not concerned about making a number of changes.”
There is plenty of pressure on North this month, given their inconsistent form earlier this season and the fact they have not won a final since 2007.
The last time they made the top eight, West Coast smashed them by 96 points in an elimination final.
“We qualified eighth on the back of about eight elimination finals in a row and when the real elimination final turned up we were just not ready to take our opportunity,” Scott said.
“We got completely shown up on the day.
“The fact it was a final, away from home – all that sort of stuff is irrelevant.
“We were just cooked at that stage of the season.”