Happy Father’s Day

by Josh Barnstable

I am so glad my dad isn’t a Carlton or Essendon supporter. For two reasons mainly.

#1 – The DVD pack of every Grand Final win we got him for Fathers Day featured just the 5 DVD’s, not 16, therefore a much lower price.

#2 – who WOULD want a dad that supported for Carlton or Essendon?

A Fathers Day spent at the footy seeing our beloved North Melbourne play for the last time in 2011 seemed like the perfect option for me, then again I wasn’t the one that needed to be pleased. We caught our train on time, something we have grown quite good at, and were soon on the rails to Melbourne.

Walking down the bridge to Etihad Stadium, the fading sunlight was warm enough to create a big enough buzz to give this dead-rubber game a bit of genuine excitement. 50/50 on paper, a decent crowd and the Eureka match. What a perfect way to end the season. Dad lined up to get two tickets (one adult, one junior) and a large amount of people soon converged around him in their bid to get into the game. I waited back, flicking through the Footy Record while also trying not to get our backpack stolen. Majak Daw, Lachie Hansen and Robbie Tarrant walked past me, with not many people noticing. Soon, I saw a young lady with a pram approach me out of the corner of my eye.

“Excuse me, I’m Cameron Pedersen’s sister, and I just learnt he isn’t playing today, so I don’t really need these tickets. Want them?”

I inspected the tickets. Aisle 10, Row C. She told me it was right near the interchange bench. I gratefully thanked her as she walked off, as easily as she approached me. My next mission was to get dad’s attention before he blew money on buying more tickets. With a crowd of about 100 men, shouting out “DAD!” didn’t quite work. I didn’t want to try barging through a long line of disgruntled-looking people either. I saw dad purchasing the tickets, so when I told him about what happened, we lined back up to see if we could refund the general admission tickets. We were told no, but we could sell them for their original price. I think Dad managed to sell one, but since it was nearing 4:40, we made our way inside, finally.

We needed to walk around to the opposite side of the ground from where we entered. Murphy’s Law. The seats were amazing. Third row from the fence, right next to the Richmond bench. As I planned to put bum to seat, Dad tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to my right. Michael Allan, a fellow Almanacker, just a few seats apart with his mum. What were the odds! We talked briefly before we had to move back to our original free seats. We agreed to meet up occasionally during the game. North run out with Brady Rawlings leading the pack in his last ever game. He’s been an absolute stalwart, Rawlings. Probably the least talked-about three-time Best and Fairest winner in the history of the game, he is one of the last, if not THE last, unfashionable footballers in the game. North were wearing their blue clash strip, which looks a lot better than their home jumper. I would welcome a push for the clash to become our permanent strip. Really sells the royal blue that the Roos are all about. Richmond ran out to rapturous applause, and I am amazed at how pumped Richmond fans can get about a game of football. Two thirds of the stadium is yellow and black.

Richmond attacked hard in the opening stages, but North seemed to repel each forward thrust. Tyrone Vickery was looking ominous, while Jack Riewoldt never looked out of a contest. Drew Petrie kicked the first goal after some hard work from birthday boy and 100th gamer Hamish McIntosh, but it was soon followed by fellow ruckman-turned-forward Vickery up the other end. Jamie Macmillan ventured forward and got onto the end of a nice goal from 25m after first gamer Aaron Black nicely handballed into running space. Petrie goaled again, but Richmond’s saviour of the past year and a half, Riewoldt, soon helped them out again with a mark and goal. Black took a tumbling mark and slotted a fine goal from 50m out on the flank, before Lindsay Thomas, everywhere in the first quarter, had a running shot at the big sticks from 50m out and duly converted. A late Robbie Nahas goal cut the North lead to 12 at the first break.

Dad and I both agreed that Black, seven touches in the first quarter, looked the goods. Richmond hit a rich vein of form early in the second quarter, booting the first three goals through Nahas and Riewoldt twice, before Boomer Harvey responded with two of his own in the classiest way he knows. Richmond hit back hard, and with the help of Dustin Martin through the midfield and the forward pressure of Nahas, they hit the front to lead by 12 at half time. Mike and I spoke, and agreed that it was a cracker of a game, and that we both still had no idea on who was going to win.

I left at the start of the third quarter to get some food, but a long wait in line was on the cards. Luckily I could watch the TV to keep track of things. Thomas and Aaron Edwards both kicked goals within the first minute of the second half starting, and scores were back level. McIntosh, in his first game of the year, kicked a nice goal from 30 out, and we led by 7 all of a sudden. Martin goaled for the Tigers, but that was the only success they would have through the big sticks for the whole quarter. Thomas had yet another goal assist with a 10/10 pass to Petrie running into an open goal, and then a Kieran Harper goal after a Boomer-Burst through the midfield saw us lead by a couple of goals at three quarter time, and again I was confident.

That’s the beauty of being a North Melbourne supporter though. If you let an inch of confidence creep into your system, they do their very best to punish you. Richmond started to win the clearances, and two quick goals to Nahas in the opening minutes of the final quarter saw scores level. Martin easily held out the ‘tough’ Daniel Pratt with one arm to mark with the other and he converted, all of a sudden the Richmond crowd was chanting, North supporters had forlorn looks on their faces and the margin was four points their way more than halfway through the quarter. North started to get their run back though. Harvey escaped at the back of the pack a few times to run up the wing, and Leigh Adams seemed to find himself free more than once at half forward. Edwards took a beauty of a mark and kicked as straight as he always does, then a tenacious attack on the ball from Andrew Swallow earned a free kick and a goal to put us nine points up. My heart was thumping. This was the closest game I’ve ever been to. I thought of the St Kilda and Collingwood supporters who endured a drawn Grand Final last year. How on earth did they do it? Here I am having palpitations during a dead-rubber game! Richmond buggerised around with the ball in defence, only for Edwards to steal it from Mitch Farmer on the boundary line before perfectly setting the ball up to the goalsquare, where Petrie finished off a year full of amazing marks and big goals in his career-best season with a massive hanger over Rance and Vickery, two of Richmond’s biggest players. The crowd erupted, everyone with blue and white in their veins knew we had the four points. Petrie went back and slotted his 48th of the year as North sent Rawlings, and maybe even Pratt, off in style. Mike and I discussed the game shortly after the final siren, before Dad and I left for the train, which we would fail to catch, but that’s a story for another time.

Happy Fathers Day Dad.

Richmond 3.2—9.7—10.10—13.13.91

North Melbourne 5.3—7.7—12.11—15.14.104


Richmond: Nahas 5, Riewoldt 3, Martin 2, Vickery, White, Miller

North Melbourne: Petrie 4, Edwards 2, Thomas 2, Harvey 2, Macmillan, Black, McIntosh, Harper, Swallow


Richmond: Nahas, Martin, Cotchin, Foley, Deledio

North Melbourne: Harvey, Thomas, Adams, Cunnington, Petrie, Edwards, McMahon


32, 890 at Etihad Stadium


3: Brent Harvey

2: Robbie Nahas

1: Lindsay Thomas

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.


  1. How did we do it?
    well i spent the last 20mins of the final term crying into a pillow!
    Unlike this game, it was not a good memory at all.
    love your work Joshy :)

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