North Melbourne managed to fight off an unrecognisable West Coast outfit to secure their first victory of 2022 on Sunday.
Yet, things appear bleak as the young Roos have an arduous month of footy ahead given they're set to face four of the competition's six top teams from 2021.
Their month-long gauntlet consists of bouts against Brisbane, Sydney, the Western Bulldogs and Geelong, all of whom boast stellar midfield ensembles.
When speaking with SEN Breakfast this morning, Kangaroos coach David Noble spoke about his disbelief in nullifying the league's elite onballers with 'hard-tags' and instead opted to describe his defensive methodology as a "cool" tag.
“I think you need someone in your armoury that can cool, there’s no doubt, that can jump on someone for 10 or 15 minutes of a quarter," he said.
While the addition of tackling machine Hugh Greenwood aids Noble's current objective, there's no doubt that the Roos will sorely miss the 'run with' play that Jed Anderson provides, given that he'll likely miss this stretch of games as he continues to improve his fitness after a delayed pre-season.
Anderson only rejoined North in late February after receiving his second vaccination dose late as he initially missed the league's proposed deadline, meaning that his return to play has suffered as a result.
“(His return) might be a few more than (a couple of weeks away), I think he is maybe another three or four weeks away,” Noble revealed.
“We sort of felt that his program was in a range of about 8-10 weeks to get him back up to a level.
“So, he’s in the middle of his second three-week block at the moment, so another three or four weeks for Jedda.”
As a leader of the club, the 28-year-old's impact will be sorely missed as Anderson offers North Melbourne an element of aggression which is something often absent amongst a youthful and developing side.
The Kangaroos will be sweating on the fitness of midfield duo Tarryn Thomas (ribs) and Luke Davies-Uniacke (head knock) after the pair had their days cut short in Sunday's win.
North will put Noble's strategy into effect this week as their defensive attention will be aimed towards Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale after he dismantled Essendon with 41 touches and two majors this past Saturday.