North Melbourne coach David Noble says it is incumbent on his struggling AFL side to show signs of genuine improvement in order to entice fans through the turnstiles.
A crowd officially posted as 13,742 turned up at Marvel Stadium on Sunday and witnessed the Kangaroos cop a 49-point thrashing from GWS.
The number dispelled fears of a record-low attendance at the Docklands venue and was marginally bigger than the 13,422 that saw the clash with Melbourne in round 10.
That figure sparked scrutiny around the level of buy-in North Melbourne are getting from their supporters as they go through a long-term rebuild.
The fans have felt pain this season, with the Kangaroos heading to their mid-season bye with a 1-12 record and a dismal percentage of 52.3.
They are on an 11-match slide with an average losing margin of 60 points and have coughed up triple-figure scores in their past nine games.
Noble, who thanked fans for turning up to the GWS clash, has no doubt about what it will take to attract bigger crowds.
“The first thing is we’ve got to play better,” Noble said.
“That will give our fans a reason to come, and want to come and see how our young guys are developing moving forward.
“Paul Curtis is working his backside off, Flynn Perez today, Curtis Taylor probably had a reasonably good day today.
“We’d like our fans to come and see how our young guys go with a bit better balance of some mature guys that can come back (from injury) and help us.”
Cam Zurhaar (foot), Aiden Bonar (hamstring) and Ben McKay (concussion) will come back from injury, while Noble expects Tarryn Thomas and Phoenix Spicer to put pressure on for spots from the reserves.
Thomas was dropped for the GWS game.
Jaidyn Stephenson was recalled after two weeks in the reserves but had just five disposals in a quiet display against the Giants.
“There wasn’t a lot of clean entry going forward,” Noble said.
“We tried to move him around and get him up into the midfield for a period of time.
“Our plan was to try to use Stevo as a hard-leading forward up in that end of the ground.
“I don’t think he impacted the scoreboard much so we’ll just have to assess it when I get through the tape.”