AFTER approaching the 2015 season as a premiership contender and recruiting accordingly, North Melbourne must have some serious qualms with the footy gods.
It's early in the season to be citing injuries as an excuse for performance, but clear patterns have emerged in an injury ladder compiled by AFL.com.au and the Kangaroos are one of the big losers.
Brad Scott's team is ranked No.2 for average games experience missing per match this season, behind only St Kilda.
Their top bracket has been hit hard, with six of the Kangaroos' 12 injured players – headlined by Nick Dal Santo, Daniel Wells and Jarrad Waite – among their nominal best 22.
Click here to see the full AFL injury list
Geelong is the other big loser at No.3, with 16 players injured this season and an average of 568 games experience missing per game.
Premiership fancies Port Adelaide, Fremantle and the Sydney Swans are enjoying a charmed run at the foot of the ladder, with the Western Bulldogs also cruising aside from the key loss of Tom Liberatore.
The Swans have only had three games missed by best 22 players, as measured by AFL.com.au, with Fremantle (five) and the Power (six) not far behind them.
Port Adelaide sits at the foot of the table with an average of 98 games experience missing per match, compared to St Kilda in top spot with 727 games experience missing.
The Saints are in top spot because of the loss of Nick Riewoldt and Leigh Montagna. But with just 10 players injured and 10 games missed by their best 22 players, the Saints have fared relatively well otherwise.
The surprise ranking is Collingwood at No.8, with the Pies performing superbly despite having more games missed by best 22 players than any club (24).
Levi Greenwood suffered a fractured ankle in the NAB Challenge for the Magpies. Picture: AFL Media
Their injury list this season has included Steele Sidebottom (thumb), Levi Greenwood (ankle), Brent Macaffer (knee), Ben Reid (calf and quad) and Taylor Adams (foot).
Still, the Pies sit second on the premiership ladder with a 4-1 record.
The injury ladder can't do justice to a team like West Coast, which has lost two key defenders to season-ending knee injuries.
The eagles sit in fifth place, but would have claims as the club hardest hit by injury given the focus on the backline where club champion Eric Mackenzie and Mitch Brown would have been vital players.
Hawthorn dealt with early season injuries in 2014 and was able to recover to win the premiership, and the situation is not as dire this season.
Still, it is arguable no team has lost more quality players than the Hawks, with six of their 10 injured players this season classed as either elite or above average by Champion Data.
The Hawks showed it was possible to recover from such a position last season and North Melbourne would have taken note as it looks to recover from a 2-3 start