North Melbourne young gun Ben Cunnington has declared the Kangaroos are a potential top four side. Speaking at the North Melbourne media day, the former number 5 pick announced the side had what it took to challenge the better teams.
“We believe we have the list and the availability to make the top four and hopefully this year’s the year we climb up the ladder” Cunnington told BigFootyNews.com.
Externally the side are expected to make the jump to finals after two consecutive ninth placings the last two years. Internally, the Kangaroos are more confident.
Cunnington said the team had its best pre-season since he had been at the club and that has allowed him to improve his fitness so he can spend more time in the midfield.
Along with Captain Andrew Swallow and young stars Jack Ziebell and Levi Greenwood, Cunnington expects the midfield to work together more effectively than in past seasons.
“We had a young midfield, but now we’ve got our 30-50 games between us, it should be really exciting because we’re starting to gel together.”
North Melbourne fans will be delighted at a side which believes it has what it takes to climb to the top of the AFL ladder. In previous seasons, the team was beaten badly by top four contenders, but apart from the Grand Finalists last season, they began to become competitive, something Cunnington says the side needs to show.
“We definitely need to put up a consistent fight so we can see where we are in the AFL.”
While 2011 may have ended one place short of a finals berth, Cunnington says that some significant differences have ensured that the side has had a more ideal preparation to the season.
“Not as many injuries on the track, more experience, more games, we’re working pretty good and we’ve come a fair way since the previous years’.”
Huge losses to sides such as Collingwood and Geelong have helped the Roos develop and become a stronger team, which Cunnington says will help them defeat the top four sides.
“It’s who we compare ourselves too, they’re the top four teams, and it’s where we want to go.”