Former Melbourne captain turned AFL commentator Nathan Jones sees the bright side of North Melbourne's elongated period as the competition's bottom-dwellers, having led the club that last suffered the same reality through 2008-2014.

Invited by a fellow Melbourne captain now turned North Melbourne assistant in Todd Viney, Nathan Jones entered Arden Street this week to address the Kangaroo playing group and provide the empathic analogy of his playing career amid dark days at the Demons.

Currently sitting last on the ladder with little hope of finding even one win in 2024, Alistair Clarkson's Kangaroos took the opportunity to pick the mind of the 302-gamer, who shared the similarities of his journey to many senior leaders at the Roos.

"There's a fair few similarities in the journey that I had and the career that unfolded," Jones said after the session in an interview with SEN.

"In particular the senior North players... to just provide some context.

"When you're going through that, you can lose perspective... it was just reminding them they've put a lot of ducks in a row and you've got a lot of good people around.

"The marginal gains they're making, they don't show up with on-field results.

"You've just got to stick true to that path as a footy club."

An away clash with West Coast this Saturday without prized prodigy Harley Reid will provide a realistic chance for the club to snare their first victory this season, fresh off a bye with their backs against the wall.

But Nathan Jones is more focused on the long-term path to success ahead of momentary euphoria for the young shin boners.

"It was more about providing a bigger picture," he said.

"There would be an element of expectation since Clarko's come on... I think they're well-positioned but it doesn't happen overnight.

"You don't go from where they've come from - which is absolute rock-bottom - to shooting up the ladder.

"That's synonymous with my journey."

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 05: Nathan Jones (left) and Jake Melksham of the Demons look dejected after a loss during the 2019 AFL round 03 match between the Melbourne Demons and the Essendon Bombers at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 05, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos)

Jones empathised with the senior leaders of the playing group like Luke McDonald, Jy Simpkin and Luke Davies-Uniacke, who would be forgiven for losing hope in the club after constant changes and promises to no avail.

Large responsibility lies on their shoulders to help grow Harry Sheezel, George Wardlaw, Colby McKercher and Zane Duursma, future stars the like of Christian Petracca, Clayton Oliver and Jack Viney.

"Having been through multiple coaches, CEO's and presidents... it wasn't until we had stability and transparency across every department and a real, clear direction that we started to see in-roads," Jones stated.

"There was a helluva lot of small wins along the way that get missed if you don't have the right perspective.

"Luke McDonald's case as an example plays finals in his first season or two - exactly like me - and then hasn't seen a sniff of it since.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 30: Luke McDonald of the Kangaroos looks dejected during the round 14 AFL match between the Gold Coast Suns and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at Metricon Stadium on August 30, 2020 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Matt Roberts/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

"You're sold that dream multiple times that 'this is the path forward and we're going to find a way out', you end up back at ground zero.

"You look at Clarko and their senior leadership... it's not too dissimilar to the (Paul) Roos, Peter Jackson and Josh Mahoney era that rolled into Simon Goodwin.

"Melbourne's 2021 premiership didn't occur overnight, that was probably five or six years in the making of groundwork.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 22: Demons head coach Paul Roos speaks to Angus Brayshaw of the Demons during a Melbourne Demons AFL training session at AAMI Park on July 22, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

"Even in those first couple of years under 'Roosey' we were still a very very average side and not achieving much on-field success.

"But we knew the foundations we were laying and the standards we were setting were going to lead us on the right path and we just had to stay committed to that journey."

This Saturday at Optus may mean more than most games for North Melbourne this year after a week of reflection and expectation to knock off a fellow bottom-dweller.

 2024-06-08T06:35:00Z 
North Melbourne WON BY 9 POINTS
Optus Stadium
WCE   
65
FT
74
   NMFC