North Melbourne key forward Nick Larkey is confident that the club is heading in the right direction, despite starting the year 0-5.

Fresh off a 75-point drubbing at the hands of Geelong, the Kangaroos have looked to get as many games into their young stars, with coach Alastair Clarkson entrusting his youth with more responsibility.

As a result, North Melbourne fans have seen a myriad of inconsistent performances but do see glimpses of what the future might look like.

But Larkey thinks it'll turn, with plenty of positives coming from the early stages of 2024.

"No one's satisfied with where we're at but put it into perspective with our draw and our inexperience. We've played some serious opposition, and the young players have had a taste," Larkey said on Monday.

"Charlie Comben's been a shining light and Biggie Nyuon was good for us yesterday. Paul Curtis looks potent, Blake Drury and Eddie Ford were good ... those performances will stack up.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 03: Bigoa Nyuon of the Kangaroos looks on during the 2024 AFL AAMI Community Series match between the St Kilda Saints and North Melbourne Kangaroos at RSEA Park on March 03, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

"We want to get 100 games of experience into these players but we don't want to wait four years, so we're doubling down (on the track and around the club)."

As a telltale sign of patience and faith, Larkey's story to the AFL can validate that with time and experience, results can go your way.

Drafted back in 2016 with Pick 73 in the National Draft, the goalkicker has proved to be a diamond in the rough.

Leading into his 100th AFL game against Hawthorn in Round 6 at Marvel Stadium, the 25-year-old has "surprised" himself with how he's performed at the elite level.

"I never thought I'd play this many games. I've surprised myself with what I can do. It's an important match for the club to bounce back too, so I'm looking forward to it," Larkey said.

"I said when I got drafted I'd throw everything into my footy ... it's a good week to reflect on that. (Going at pick No.73) meant there wasn't as much expectation, and it helped me work a lot harder. I didn't come in with any entitlement."

Despite the difficulty of being a North Melbourne forward, Larkey produced a breakout season in 2023, kicking 71 goals and earning him his first All-Australian blazer.

Unfortunately for the bargain draft pick, his time at Arden Street hasn't been one filled with success, singing the song 20 times in his first 99 matches. But that hasn't got him down.

"Despite the win-loss record I've enjoyed every minute at North Melbourne, and that's why I signed on for the long term," Larkey said.

"The tough times will make the good times even better, and we've got some serious talent on the list.

"I didn't sign up thinking it was going to turn overnight. There have been small signs. I want to be a part of this club when it gets good."

The club has unearthed a heap of young talent into the AFL, led by high draft picks Harry Sheezel and George Wardlaw, while Colby McKercher and Zane Duursma are still finding their feet.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 16: Zane Duursma of the Kangaroos celebrates with team mates after kicking a goal during the round one AFL match between Greater Western Sydney Giants and North Melbourne Kangaroos at ENGIE Stadium, on March 16, 2024, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/AFL Photos/via Getty Images )

With most of the young stars locked away for some time, Cam Zurhaar's contract situation continues to arise as a talking point, as he is arguably the biggest free agent coming out of his current deal by season's end.

Likely to attract interest from contending clubs, North Melbourne is hoping to secure Zurhaar's services long-term, and Larkey thinks they can.

"I know for a fact Cam (Zurhaar) wants to have success here, and I want to play with him for another 100 games, but it's a personal choice," Larkey said.

"I think anyone can run to a top team and try win a flag, but does that flag mean as much as the one where you've done the hard work and put in the hours through the tough times? I don't think so.

"That's the success I want is the one that is forged through a bit of adversity."