Kangaroos rebuild on track: Clarkson

North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson is confident the club's rebuild is heading in the right direction - and not just because they finally broke their duck for 2024.

The Kangaroos posted their first win of the AFL season on Saturday night with a thrilling nine-point victory over West Coast at Optus Stadium.

North Melbourne led by 33 points early in the final quarter, coughed up the lead, and then regained it with the final two goals of the match.

It marked the club's first win since beating Gold Coast in the final round last year and snapped an 11-match losing run.

Despite the victory, North Melbourne remain hot favourites to claim this year's wooden spoon.

They posted just three wins last year, two in 2022, four in 2021, and three in the shortened 2020 campaign.

Clarkson, who guided Hawthorn to four flags, is confident the Kangaroos are setting the foundations for future success -contrary to the belief of critics who say the rebuild has stalled.

"Those who commentate on the game are just doing it from afar," Clarkson said.

"They don't know the inner workings of our footy club and what we're trying to do.

"We'll be making decisions that are in the best interest of the long term of the footy club, and we're looking for different things, rather than just necessarily wins.

"Everyone else is just looking at the win-loss column.

"Our wins are the amount of debutants we have, the amount of game time - the exposure - they have."

Clarkson insisted developing the club's youth as part of a long-term plan was far more important than loading up on more mature players to achieve short-term success.

North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson.
Investing in youth is the route to sustained success for North Melbourne, Alastair Clarkson says. (Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS)

"We could very easily go a different path and recruit some more experienced players and play some more experienced players," Clarkson said.

"But in the long term for the footy club, we think investing in the youth is what's going to allow us to climb the ladder the quickest at some point in time.

"And we're pleased we're taking that path. It's a difficult path. But a lot of clubs have been there before."

Clarkson highlighted Carlton, Melbourne and his former side Hawthorn as clubs that had climbed the ladder following similar steps to those being taken by the Kangaroos.

"When you do it that way, when you do climb, it gives you an opportunity to sustain that and stay up there for a period of time," he said.

"That's what we're trying to do."

North Melbourne will be aiming to make it two wins on the trot when they take on Collingwood at Marvel Stadium next Sunday.