Is there ever a bad time to play a winless team?
Certainly Essendon would not have thought so when it met Melbourne in round 10, yet the Demons pulled off the upset of the season against the Bombers to score their first victory.
Perhaps that is why North Melbourne coach Brad Scott believes it is a matter of "when not if" bottom-placed Gold Coast will finally break through.
Scott just hopes Gold Coast's emotional response from a week of massive criticism, the fact it is playing at home and any possible lag after a bye on North's behalf, don't add up to making this Saturday night's Roos-Suns clash at Metricon Stadium the ideal time for Guy McKenna's men to finally get it right.
The Suns have been under more heat, firstly from their coach and then by commentators, than any other time in their short history after last Saturday night's 95-point capitulation against St Kilda — the club's third 90-plus point loss in 11 rounds.
Scott expects Gold Coast to respond to the internal and external lashings, but also pointed out that the Roos were in a similar situation last week, which began with a 115-point defeat to Hawthorn and ended with chief executive Eugene Arocca walking out on the club and calls for chairman James Brayshaw to follow.
"I hope they are just as concerned about us," said Scott, when asked today how worried he was about a spirited Gold Coast response.
"We are bitterly disappointed about the recent events [at our club] so we'll come out firing and we expect them to as well," he said.
"What it makes for is a fiery opening and the team that is most composed will probably win the game.
"Their talent hasn't gone anywhere despite what people say, I still think they've still got really capable players.
"It's a matter of when not if for them, we've just got to make sure it's not this Saturday night."
Scott revealed yesterday that rookie Sam Gibson would be elevated to the senior list to make his AFL debut against the Suns.
The 26-year-old, a mature-age recruit from VFL club Box Hill, showed impressive form in the NAB Cup and has continued his outstanding form for VFL affiliate Werribee, appearing in the best players five times in nine games and averaging 26 disposals (including 40 touches against Geelong in round five).
"It's a fantastic story for Gibbo — he's just a really top-quality individual, a great character and someone that we think can really add to our side," Scott said.
"He's an elite endurance athlete. We need some more run and spread through the midfield and we think he can give that to us.
"It's been a long time coming for Sam but it's a credit to his dedication and persistence."
The Roos had lost four out of their previous five games leading into last week's bye — including the Hawthorn drubbing — but whether the timing of the break has worked in North's favour, or against it, will not be known until after Saturday night, Scott says.
"Often after a extremely disappointing loss you want to get out and play the next day if you can, but it [the bye] has given us a chance to work a number of things that we clearly need to work on," he said.
"So from that perspective it's been good and we go into this weekend's game in really good shape — really healthy, fit and fresh, and ready to attack the Gold Coast."