Tigers clash 'massive', says Roos forward
NORTH Melbourne forward Ben Brown says a victory in Saturday night's clash with Richmond could be the difference between making the finals or missing out on the top eight.
The Kangaroos sit 13th on the ladder with a 4-6 record, while the Tigers (6-4) are sixth after starting the season with five consecutive wins.
North Melbourne, which began the campaign with five straight losses, has won seven of its past eight games against Richmond, but Brown said that record would count for little in this clash at Etihad Stadium.
"It's a massive game for us and I think a massive game for Richmond, too. It's going to be a good one to watch," he said.
"We've been building reasonably well over the last few weeks but we know what Richmond's capable of.
"They had a couple of really close losses the last couple of weeks, so if they'd won those games they'd be right up the top of the ladder ... it will be a difficult one."
Brown said despite the exodus of players at the end of last season, such as Brent Harvey, Drew Petrie, Michael Firrito, Nick Dal Santo and Daniel Wells, the Kangaroos were still a chance to make the top eight.
"Finals is always an expectation," he said.
"I think any player at AFL level wants to be involved in the finals series and that's what we look to do again this year.
"We had a couple of losses earlier in the year where we shot ourselves in the foot (after holding sizeable leads) and needed to learn a few lessons and I think we did that.
"We've built some pretty good form but there are definitely some areas we need to improve ... we're a pretty young side this year and we're going to have to learn lessons at particular points."