Despite succumbing to a fifth-straight defeat, this time at the hands of the Western Bulldogs, since assuming Alastair Clarkson's helm, North Melbourne interim coach Brett Ratten has remained optimistic about where the Kangaroos are headed.

The ex-Saints senior coach made his Roos head-coaching debut against the SydneySwans in Round 10 after Alastair Clarkson stepped down from his duties indefinitely amid the Hawthorn racism investigation.

Speaking to the media post-game at Marvel Stadium on Sunday evening, Ratten commended his side's ability to stay in the contest against the Bulldogs.

“Probably the biggest thing is our ability to hang in has improved", said Ratten.

“The game got away from us with them kicking four goals in about six minutes of the last quarter. Wow, this has gone from an opportunity to be in the game and maybe have a chance to win to, we're hanging in there.”

The last five weeks, while eventuating in losses, have been competitive for the Kangaroos and they have shown clear signs of improvement after losing numerous close games.

“You look back and we've had five weeks of pretty competitive footy and you get caught up and say that's what we like, and we do", Ratten stated.

“But we have got to become better than that and that's about digging in and scrapping and all that, that's got to be the norm.”

When asked about the club's success during the initial portion of the season, Ratten questioned the process of measuring that.

“There's some growth. That's the hardest bit around footy clubs and teams, sometimes, how do you measure success? From one week to the next, block of four weeks, half a season, a whole season, how do you measure success?” said Ratten.

“I think there's elements of success. I don't think everything, when you win two games you can't sit there and say it's been a success, but I think there's a fair bit of growth there.”

The Kangaroos have shown their competitiveness in stages throughout the season. In that Swans clash, they were in with a real chance, only to lose due to an unforeseen interchange breach.

Ratten is adamant that the second half of the season will define where the club is headed.

“Sometimes we see it through 60 minutes, 80 minutes, but we're not seeing it for 120 which is what's letting us down", continued Ratten.

"We've got a lot to gain and a lot to lose in the next eight or nine weeks and how we go about it. I think as a football team we need to make sure we're really clear with that and when they turn up each day, they know what we're trying to accomplish as a group, and what they have to do individually to help and support that.”

The Kangaroos, 2-12, head into the bye before taking on the Crows at Adelaide Oval in Round 16.