AFL Round 5 – Hawthorn v North Melbourne: Not quite good enough

 

Hawthorn versus North Melbourne

 

4.40pm, Sunday, 28 April

 

Melbourne Cricket Ground

 

 

Like country mice on a rare visit to the big city, bro-in-law number 1, Dean, and I settle into the lower level of the members’ enclosure amidst a brown and gold beehive – including bro-in-law number 2, Chris.

 

 

North must win today, to stay in the finals race – 1 and 4 is too much ground to make up – and to build belief against the better teams.

 

 

Hawthorn handle the frantic opening better. Their bodies are stronger and they show more poise. Ruckman Bailey drifts forward and kicks two. Rioli tackles strongly.

 

 

North take a while to settle. Majak runs down Burgoyne which brings the crowd to life and leads to our first goal through Ziebell. When Mullett kicks truly on the run North are in the contest.

 

 

Hawthorn steady. Bailey kicks his third and must think he’s dreaming.

 

 

Hawthorn by 11 points at quarter-time. They look the better team.

 

 

The second term is entertaining. Hawthorn are polished and threaten to take control. Burgoyne and Lewis could be the match winners. But North match the Hawks for effort. Wells, Swallow and Ziebell drag North back. Thomas kicks two. Majak brings the ball to ground in a marking contest and Petrie, manned by Lake in his first game for the Hawks, gathers and kicks truly over his shoulder from 50 metres. Thompson is beating Franklin – his 13 goal nightmare from last season.

 

 

Hawthorn lead by 5 points at half-time but their fans are worried. North have stood up to everything thrown at them and come back for more. We can win this.

 

 

Early in the third quarter, Aaron Black, in his first game for the year and only his fourth since arriving from the WAFL in 2009, kicks a blinder on the run from the boundary. North are in front. We dominate clearances and possession but waste chances and make mistakes. Majak kicks three behinds from set shots and Adams blazes away and misses. McMahon, used wide to bring the ball forward, delivers poorly.

 

 

Rioli’s brilliance keeps Hawthorn in the game. He kicks three for the quarter: on the run after he starts the passage of play in defence, follows up and puts the Hawks back in front; when he intercepts Mullett’s poor kick-in from full-back; and after one too many North defenders fly for a contest.

 

 

Somehow Hawthorn’s lead has stretched to 8 points.

 

 

It’s all on the line for North. We start the final quarter well. Swallow continues to win stoppages. Cunnington lays three tackles in one centre circle scrimmage. Wells puts his body on the line. We kick the first three goals – two to Thomas, one a freakish snap, and a ripper to Wells – and lead by 8. We have momentum and should win from here.

 

 

Hawthorn dig in. Hale lifts around the ground. Mitchell and Hodge win possession. The Hawks kick the next three. Cyril has his fourth before doing his hamstring in a sprint for the ball with Atley. He is helped off by trainers to applause from supporters from both teams. He has been brilliant.

 

 

North keep coming. But so do mistakes. Ball movement is daring and slick out of defence but hesitant and indecisive at half-forward. Wright misses on the run.

 

 

Guerra is pinged for holding the ball and Thomas puts North within a goal with a few minutes left. Petrie is infringed by Gibson but misses the set shot from 40 metres.

 

 

Hawthorn also feel the pressure. Smith misses a sitter on the run and Buddy, frustrated by Thompson all match, dribbles through his fifth point.

 

 

With less than thirty seconds left and the crowd in a frenzy, North win possession and plough forward. Petrie marks at centre half-forward, turns, looks at the goal, shapes to kick, but hesitates. Finally, he bombs long to the square. Off hands, the ball comes to ground.

 

 

Siren.

 

 

Hawthorn by 3 points. Players slump to the ground – Hawthorn in relief; North, despair.

 

 

North showed plenty of effort and belief, but they simply weren’t good enough.

 

 

 

HAWTHORN 5.4 8.8 11.11 14.15 (99)
NORTH MELBOURNE 3.5 7.9 9.15 13.18 (96)

GOALS
Hawthorn: Rioli 4; Bailey 3; Smith, Osborne, Burgoyne, Roughead, Hill, Mitchell, Gunston
North Melbourne: Thomas 5; Black 2; Ziebell, Mullett, Adams, Petrie, Gibson, Wells

 

BEST
Hawthorn:
Rioli, Mitchell, Burgoyne, Lewis
North Melbourne: Wells, Swallow, Thomas, Thompson, Ziebell, Cunnington

Umpires Farmer, Stevic, Ryan Official crowd 42,103

 

 

Our votes: Rioli (H) 3, Wells (NM) 2, Swallow (NM) 1.

 

Comments

  1. Smokie says:

    Being just not quite good enough is going to cost North dearly.

  2. Lord Bogan says:

    Yes, bad start Starkie, but I’d back you to win 5 out of the next 6, which would leave you 6-5 at the halfway mark with more confidence. Long way to go yet.

  3. Peter Flynn says:

    Composure Great Man.

    Composure.

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