Besieged coach Brad Scott has pleaded with North Melbourne fans not to lose faith with the Kangaroos after their horror AFL loss to Essendon in their marquee Good Friday game.
Former club greats were scathing in their assessment after the Roos were jumped by a far superior Bombers outfit who prevailed 17.14 (116) to 7.16 (58).
The defeat leaves the Kangaroos at 1-4 ahead of next Friday's vital away clash with Port Adelaide.
Playing in front of a near-sellout home crowd at Marvel Stadium, North were obliterated in the midfield and looked bereft of answers after the electrifying Bombers piled on five goals in 10 minutes during the second quarter.
Former North Melbourne great David King labelled the performance embarrassing, while dual-premiership teammate Corey McKernan vented his frustration on Twitter.
"For a fierce @NMFCOfficial person to watch this served up on a day that we fought for and a time slot we used to own is hard to watch," McKernan wrote.
"When does the time come the club decides to DO something rather than accept what is being dished up and we are expected to swallow."
A dejected Scott lamented his side's "atrocious" ball use and inability to compete for the loose ball, acknowledging it was nowhere near good enough.
But facing enormous pressure to deliver in his 10th season at the helm, Scott urged North's long-suffering fans to keep the faith.
"This club has, for better or worse, it's fought its way through really tough situations and our players are bitterly disappointed - our coaches are bitterly disappointed," Scott said.
"Now more than ever, we need people to rally around the players."
Scott conceded his side's tally of just 43 tackles - 10 of which were laid by shining light Jed Anderson - was cause for concern about his players' mindset.
Skipper Jack Ziebell was among the Roos' worst culprits, gathering just six disposals, but Scott insisted that wasn't the side's biggest worry.
"It sounds simple and cliched but we're just looking to improve and we haven't improved," he said.
"We made some significant changes to our list at the end of 2016 and it takes time. There are sides that have been rebuilding for 15 years.
"We were not delusional that we were going to bring in some players from other clubs and it was going to be a quick patch-up of where we were at.
"I've said for two years we're trying to rebuild our midfield and, at the moment, that midfield is far too reliant on Ben Cunnington and Shaun Higgins."
Australian Associated Press