Faith Tested and Restored

There was once a time when my loyalty and trust had ebbed to an extreme low. My faith in the North Melbourne Football Club was severely tested, and I thought it was time for me to cut ties with the team I’d grown up loving. I needed a new club.

March 2007, the Roos played St Kilda in a practice match at MC Labour Park. With the Roos in control just before half time, Sam Fisher fell across Nathan Thompson’s left knee, causing the leg to buckle and the Anterior Cruciate Ligament and Medial Ligament to snap. That was it; he was done for the year. After kicking 106 goals in the past two seasons for a low-scoring side, it was hard to see where North were going to get their goals from in 2007 without Thompson. To cap it all off, the Roos were in deep financial trouble, and the talks about them relocating to the Gold Coast were becoming stronger with every passing day. It became unbearable to hear about it. I didn’t want to listen, I didn’t want to believe. I wanted everything to be back to normal, I wanted North to be safe in Victoria.

But the media reports kept saying otherwise. After a devastating loss to Collingwood in Round 1, the pressure and criticism was put on Shannon Grant for missing ‘that’ shot from 10m out. I didn’t like it; Grant didn’t need all that BS on his shoulders. Then after a Round 2 loss to Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium, I started to concede that 2007 would be a horror year for the blue and white stripes, just as ’06 was. It continued into Round 3, with a low-scoring effort against Hawthorn, leaving North in the lower rungs of the ladder. That was it. I needed to change. I was going to swap my blue and white stripes for brown and gold. The decision was ready to be made. But I had a rethink, and decided to stick it out a few more weeks, just to see what happened. The talk about the Roos leaving Victoria for Queensland intensified to an unimaginable level as they prepared for the game against the Brisbane Lions at Carrara Oval. They broke through with a four goal win, notching their first four points of the year. I was happy again, but only temporarily. I was sick of reading the newspaper every morning and having to be confronted with the talks of North having no money, no supporters and no future at Arden Street. Round 5 came by and a dominant display against Geelong at Skilled Stadium, followed by a first quarter blitz against Sydney in Round 6 saw another two wins on the board and the season was level again, 3-3. It soon became 4-3, then 5-3. Was I really living this life? Were North actually on a five game winning streak? What happened to the on-their-knees, low-scoring, insipid side that lost their first three games of the season? Another win came up on the Gold Coast against Carlton, kicking 22.15.147 as the Roos once again proved they didn’t need Thompson to kick a big score. They relied on the likes of Lindsay Thomas, Matthew Campbell, Shannon Grant, Aaron Edwards, Brent Harvey and Corey Jones. I can’t remember having such a potent forward line. Round 9 saw a big fright go into the North Melbourne camp, with Melbourne taking it up to the 6th placed Roos, fighting back from 28 points down at three quarter time to take the lead late in the game. Andrew Swallow rallied the Roos with a long goal just before the siren and North had won their sixth game on the trot.

I knew I had made the right decision; I stuck by my club when things were dire, extremely dire, and it paid off big time. As 2010 comes to a close, I can look forward to next season with amazing enthusiasm, something I haven’t felt for quite some time. We have good kids, talented players, and a future in Victoria. North Melbourne are here to stay.

About Josh Barnstable

21 year old North Melbourne supporter from country Victoria. Currently living in Melbourne studying a Bachelor of Sports Media. Dreams of becoming a sports journalist and broadcaster.

Comments

  1. Josh,
    as they say you can change your name, your religiaon or even your wife But you CAN’T change your footie club.
    cheers
    TR

  2. Steve Healy says:

    Nice article Josh, i’ve always been interested in this story of you ALMOST going for the Hawks.

    I’m glad you stuck with the Roos because it is important to stick with your team if you did go for Hawthorn you wouldn’t be the same person you are today. It’s funny how the Roos beat the Hawks in the semi final in 07 as well.

    We should’ve won that game against the Roos.

    Steve

  3. Yeah, a very nice justice the Roos beating the team I was going to support in the Semi Final. Even if I DID end up being a Hawthorn boy, my heart would’ve always bled blue and white.

    Nathan Carroll didn’t get a finger on it. Accept it!!

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