Is Brad Scott kidding?

Aberration?

Aberration? 

Does Brad Scott expect North Melbourne members to swallow that?

After being smashed by 115 points by Hawthorn on Saturday – a previously out of form Hawthorn, mind you –  coach Brad Scott faced the media and declared it an ‘aberration’.  Not a typical North Melbourne performance.  In two weeks time, after the bye, the footy public will see the ‘real’ North Melbourne.

Rubbish!  What we saw on Saturday was the ‘real’ North Melbourne!

Scott’s comments may have been a case of feeding the chickens, but they were as concerning as North’s spineless on-field effort.

In recent years, since Scott has been in charge, we have not been able to defeat top teams at important times.

On Easter Saturday, 2010, Brady Rawlings stood on the mark with hollow, emotionless eyes as Milne took a first quarter shot for goal.  He was resigned to defeat early.  St. Kilda led by five goals after ten minutes and won by 104 points.

Also that year, the Bulldogs thumped us twice by a combined total of 141 points.  The first time they met, North scored its opening goal for the match during time on second term, and only after Thompson and Pratt had bullied Big Bad Barry into giving away two 50 metre penalties.  It was desperate and embarrassing.

Collingwood brushed North away by 10 goals at the ‘G and as usual, the Cats toyed with us at the Cattery.  Bartel and Mooney shared a joke before half-time and the Big Hairy Cat swapped banter with the faithful behind the goals.

Last season, in the lead up to round 2, Brad Scott and James Brayshaw got on media street, making great noise about North being ‘permitted’ by Collingwood to wear its ‘home’ jumper (we wore away shorts).  They begged all North people to come along ‘wearing their colours’.  We showed up, but the team didn’t.  It was over by half-time.

The next time the two teams met, again at the ‘G, I listened from poolside in Borneo with my mate Handsome Joe – Collingwood Supporter, International Playboy – and not enough beers could wash away the pain.  Margin, 117 points.  Geelong got out of second gear for ten minutes and recorded an 11 goal victory against North, while in round 23, we had to defeat an injured and tired St. Kilda to make the Eight.  We led by four goals during the second term before St. Kilda got going.  North folded under mild pressure and lost by 65 points.  Season over.

Mixed in with these losses were telling defeats by Essendon and Richmond.  And Sydney have been able to dictate the style and pace of play against North in recent times.  Compare current fortunes of these clubs.

Go back a few more years and recall the thumpings North has received in finals against Geelong and Port Adelaide.  It was sorting the wheat from the chaff.  The men from the boys.  Country rock from romantic pop.

Saturday’s loss to the Hawks once again demonstrated North’s lack of belief; the absence of resolve and on-field leadership; and an inability to maintain or withstand momentum shifts (think Port Adelaide and Brisbane in recent weeks).

Since being coach, Brad Scott has been able to keep North’s ship on course on rough seas.  But in 2012, he is facing his first crisis.  Some North people are already calling for his head.  I don’t support this, but am worried about him.

When North lost to the Bulldogs a month ago, they were so distracted and lazy, I suspected off-field problems.  Or alternatively, a deluded sense of entitlement.

A large part of North’s current malaise is the Lindsay Thomas situation.  When ‘omitted’ an hour before the Lions game, his 100th, with family present and a run-through prepared and ready to go, my initial reaction was this was a case of poor player management.  However, listening to comments out of Arden Street since, I suspect North are quite understandably concealing something more important and sensitive than footy.

Saturday wasn’t an aberration; the round 3 victory over Geelong was.  It’s going to be a long two weeks for all Northerners.

Comments

  1. Lord Bogan says:

    Andrew,

    watched most of the game and have to say that the lack of talent and skill by North really stood out. Maybe they just don’t have the cattle to challenge and deep down they know it. Scant ability minus effort usually results in capitulation. Don’t know what else Scott can do.

  2. Jeff Dowsing says:

    I find Kangas hard to work out. Their midfield boasts half a dozen young guns who all at times look outstanding. But their form never seems to hold and too rarely do they click at the same time.

  3. I reckon North were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Franklin has been threatening to do this for years now … he has the storm force power of a hurricane and eventally someone had to caught in the eye of the storm

  4. Rick Kane says:

    “A large part of North’s current malaise is the Lindsay Thomas situation. When ‘omitted’ an hour before the Lions game, his 100th, with family present and a run-through prepared and ready to go, my initial reaction was this was a case of poor player management. However, listening to comments out of Arden Street since, I suspect North are quite understandably concealing something more important and sensitive than footy” – What are North concealing? The tone in this paragraph sounds ominious and very concerning.

    Cheers

  5. I’m unhappy that the two best games of the year for Freo AND North Melbourne were against Geelong. What are the odds?

  6. Andrew Starkie says:

    LB – you may be right;
    JD – I know, I know;
    TB – Can’t agree; it was more than bad luck;
    RK – Not sure; have heard a few stories about Lindsay;
    Cookie – Cats are far from convincing;

  7. Andrew Fithall says:

    You reckon your team has problems. I just read that Collingwood are now premiership favourites. Don’t want that mantle, thanks very much.

  8. Andrew Starkie says:

    Life is so tough for some.

    Pies may win it if they can keep fit. Nice to see Mick’s love child, Thomas, has got his head on finally.

  9. Andrew – we decided (actually J Harms decided) at about 2am on Saturday morning in a tiny weekend shack in Tasmania that the Cats will win the flag this year.

  10. Andrew Starkie says:

    No surprise there. Harms will probably shut the site down and cancel the book if the Cats don’t win it. Cats are no certainties to make 8. I may regret saying that .

  11. Andrew,

    TBH I thought the post-game presser was the most honest we’ve seen from Brad lately. Talk of aberrations aside, he seemed genuinely deflated, lacking the defiance he put up after some other ordinary losses. None of the “no point going defensive because that won’t build a winning style” comments, more “we put 7 back, then 8, and he still kept kicking them, and we had no way to go forward if we did get it” resignation.

    I do worry that he’s too quick to credit the players and teams that have a day out against us. Sure, Buddy is an unreal talent who was due for a big one, but Schultz? Port’s midfield? Griffin, Boyd and Cross are good, but unstoppable? Go look at Chris Scott’s press conference after the NM/Geelong game. Refused to be drawn into any discussion of the opposition or put credit or blame anywhere but his own side. Need more of that from Brad.

    And I worry about on-field leadership too. Swallow’s a trooper, but more of a lead-by-example than rev-em-up type. We need both sorts.

    That said, past a certain point I don’t reckon you can learn a lot from, or read too much into, a shelling like that, any more so than an 8-10 goal regulation thrashing. I’ve experienced it myself, I reckon all of us who’ve played competitive sport have: there comes a tide in the affairs of sports teams which taken at the flood leads on to floggings. And to crippling self-doubt and indecision in the heat of play. Yes, we’re sending too many boys on men’s errands, but what’s the alternative, given the dearth of in-between aged/experienced decent talent?

  12. Andrew Starkie says:

    Rob, admitted, I didn’t see the presser, only the grabs shown on tv news.

    But, I feel the ‘Buddy was due’ line is a cop out.

    Yep, as said, leadership is a big problem. Where was it against Port? Even Brisbane last week?

    Do you get a sense things aren’t right off-field?

  13. Andrew, hard to say anything about off-field. I’m certainly not close enough to have any Little Birdies. The treatment of LT seems a little odd, and I sincerely hope that whatever’s going on behind the scenes there is closer to the club’s public stance than some of the rumours. Aside from that, is there anything wrong that couldn’t be patched up by, you know, winning? Who knows?

    And I might be swimming against the tide a bit with my thoughts on the Brisbane game, but it really looked to me on the day like the guys you want to think of as leaders did step up in the first half of the last quarter when Brisbane truly threatened. I thought at the time that they showed good resolve at the right time and a few garbage goals flattered the Lions. Hindsight may be a bit less kind I suppose.

    I wonder whether the coach has the right mix of assistants. He seems to get outcoached on game day a bit; does he need a tactical whiz beside him? Does he have anyone filling the Laidley/Choco/Lips role? Or is he too much Modern Manager, not enough Blood’n’Guts? Or is this past month an … aberration?

  14. Andrew Starkie says:

    You’re right about the Brisbane junk time goals, they were flattering. But, cant help but think a good team would have beaten us.

    Rob, I think I assistants are some of the lowest paid in the comp. And with little big time experience behind them. How can we afford a Bomber Thompson type behind the scenes?

  15. A S,
    There are a million things I could spew forth here, but I will refrain.
    Suffice to say that North supporters deserved better than what
    was dished up both on and off-field on Saturday.
    That was no aberration.
    “A long two weeks…” More like a long fourteen weeks.

  16. Andrew Starkie says:

    Smokie, Patrick Smith’s piece in the Oz today alleges infighting and turmoil behind the scenes at North, eg. Rocca v JB. I knew it; I could feel it in my waters after the BUlldogs game. Trouble off-field leads to trouble on field. Personal agendas in any organization are never good.

  17. Andrew Starkie says:

    Todd Goldstein’s giggling comments on ch10 sport last night: ‘Buddy’s a freak of nature……there was nothing we could do…etc etc’ made me feel sick. Grow up North. get serious.

  18. Good point, A S.
    When I saw his grinning head, I wanted to jump through
    the tv and wipe that grin right off his face.

  19. Andrew Starkie says:

    Smokie, it was an insult to all Northerners.

  20. Andrew Fithall says:

    Arocca now departed. He must have been the cause of the travails.

  21. Andrew Starkie says:

    what the…….? Cause or collatarol damage?

  22. I know a bloke who works at North Melbourne – says Arocca is an awesome boss.

  23. Andrew Starkie says:

    I’ve had cause to email him a few times over the past year or so. Couldn’t have been more helpful.

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