NORTH Melbourne assistant coach Darren Crocker has dismissed Drew Petrie’s lean start to the season as a concern.
Crocker, sitting in for senior coach Brad Scott, said yesterday that Petrie would do everything in his power to return to his best.
“Drew knows that he’s not in the best of form, but he’ll keeping working hard to turn that around, because he is a pro,” he said.
Crocker stressed that while Petrie’s marking and goalkicking output had been down, he had still been a valuable contributor.
“So sometimes we look at key forwards and their output has to be marks and hitting the scoreboard, but there’s also a lot of other things they do that perhaps go unnoticed.”
Petrie had a career-best season in 2011.
He was selected in the All-Australian team after kicking 48 goals and being one of the best contested marks in the AFL.
The full forward has nine goals from the opening six rounds this year. It’s hard to see 10th-placed Kangaroos making the finals for the first time since 2008 if Petrie is not kicking goals, leaving too much responsibility on the shoulders of Aaron Edwards, who has booted an impressive 15.4.
Petrie is likely to come up against an in-form Brian Lake in Sunday’s clash with the Western Bulldogs at Etihad stadium.
Crocker said North Melbourne was yet to consider whether it would play Petrie as a decoy forward on Lake to draw the Bulldogs’ defender away from play.
He said the Kangaroos needed to make sure Lake had his hands full. One possible change for North Melbourne is the return of ruckman Todd Goldstein.
“We as a match committee still believe that the Petrie- McIntosh-Goldstein thing can work. It worked against Geelong and we think it can work again,” he said.
Goldstein has missed North Melbourne’s past two matches after being dropped.
He dominated in the ruck for North Ballarat in a one-point loss to Casey Scorpions in the VFL on Sunday, April 29.
Goldstein did not play at the weekend owing to the Roosters having a bye.