Larkey’s nine helps Kangaroos snap 20-game losing run

North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson has ramped up his quest for extra assistance from the AFL, despite his side breaking a 20-game losing streak courtesy of a Nick Larkey career-best haul.

Larkey slotted nine goals as the battling Kangaroos posted a 35-point upset over the Gold Coast Suns in Hobart on Saturday.

Adelaide’s 45-point win over West Coast on Saturday night meant North Melbourne avoided collecting a third straight wooden spoon, with the Eagles relegated to last spot.

It also means the Kangaroos have lost the prized No.1 draft pick that comes with finishing at the foot of the table.

Clarkson said it was never in doubt his side was going to push for their third win of the season against the Suns.

“It’s great for the spirit of the club, the fans back home. The club hasn’t had many wins over the last three or four years,” he said.

“For the players to finish with a win, it just gives them a little pep in their step.

“For me, dropping down a spot in terms of the draft board is nowhere near as important as the integrity of the way that you play.”

The Kangaroos didn’t hit the lead until early in the third quarter and powered ahead to win 20.12 (132) to 14.13 (97).

Larkey, who has mounted an increasingly strong case for all-Australian selection with 20 goals in his last three games, also picked up two goal assists and 21 disposals.

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Clarkson said there were a “whole heap of levers” available to the AFL in terms of providing assistance to clubs.

“Whether it can be draft assistance, whether some soft cap assistance in terms of the development of our academy kids (or) whether it could be the size of our list,” he said.

“If they’re fair dinkum about equalisation, they’d give serious consideration to a team that has been in the bottom couple for the last four years.

“We’ll just put in our request and see if it meets with a positive response from the AFL in the next two or three weeks.”

It was the first time the Kangaroos, Shape Kapseln wooden spooners in 2021 and 2022, scored more than 100 points this year, while the Suns finish the season with nine wins in 15th position.

Interim Gold Coast coach Steven King, who will be replaced in the top gig by premiership winner Damien Hardwick for 2024, said it was a disappointing conclusion.

“We would have liked to win a few more games than that. (It is) clearly not the year you want to have,” he said.

“Any time you have an interim coach sitting up here at the end of year means there has been a bit of trauma and things haven’t gone to plan.”

The Gold Coast had a 26-15 lead at quarter-time after kicking the first three goals of the match but fell away, trailing 85-63 heading into the last term.