Roos put on a Friday Night Special

25 years of Friday night football. Pioneered by North Melbourne, people will always remember seeing the Krakouer brothers, Wayne Carey, Anthony Stevens, Mick Martyn, Corey McKernan, David King, Glenn Archer, Shannon Grant and the like strutting their stuff on the big stage of Friday night. Sadly though, North have not received their fair share of the pie in recent years, with this match just the first and only match under the big lights for 2010. But, we’ll take them when we can get them.

So far this season, Dad and I’ve been down to Melbourne for the footy with Dad twice. In the first round of the NAB Cup against Geelong. Win. In Round 8 against Adelaide. Win. Could the perfect record extend after this match?

After a night of dancing and picking up girls (just kidding…) at the school social, I was quite exhausted as I woke up at my friends place early on Friday morning. We both ventured down to have breakfast at the local bakery, before I went home to have a shower and get my things together to take to Melbourne. On our way back into Numurkah, we picked up Jeff Paterson, Almanacker and good friend of mine. Finally, as I started to worry that we’ll be late, Dad, Jeff and I set off for Seymour for the 5:00PM train.

We arrived in time and caught our train, as Jeff took a seat next to a middle-aged lady. It was the perfect scene for Dad and I to make a few jokes to him, which we did, but the lady didn’t seem to mind. Or wasn’t listening. Or both. We arrived at Southern Cross Station, a lot quicker than I had anticipated, and there’s still plenty of time before the first bounce to my relief. As we walked across the bridge, I keep an eye out for Damian Watson (Carlton supporter) and Steve Healy. I can’t seem to spot them, until I saw them walking past me on the other side of the bridge. I don’t think they would have noticed us if I hadn’t of walked up to them. We made our way to the ticket booths, where Damo, Steve and I waited at the entrance as Dad went with Jeff to get his ticket. For one minute Jeff was suddenly under 14 years old and got his ticket for $2.50, despite turning 16 the previous day. We found our seats, yet again on level three (great view though) and sat down to view the pre-match festivities featuring former North Melbourne greats, fireworks and John Paul Young performing ‘Yesterday’s Hero’ and ‘Love Is In The Air’ before the Blues ran out with the song blaring, quite mistily, compared to the Roos who jogged out on the field with more fireworks blazing around them. And we only get one of these prime time matches a year?

The game began and Lindsay Thomas kicked the first off the ground in the goalsquare, highlighting the fact that the World Cup had started earlier in the day. He then got his second, and the Roos were on. Ben Warren made the most of his inclusion with an early goal, then Ryan Bastinac’s kick off the ground hit the ground like a burrowing ferret, rolling through for a goal, his first in the big time. The Roos led by 26 points. Eddie Betts took a good mark under heavy attention from Scott McMahon. Betts goaled, saving Carlton from the embarrassment of a goalless quarter. The Roos had a commanding lead at quarter time, 4.5 to 1.2.

The second quarter started and Warren got his second after controlling Thomas’ shot on goal well, booting it off the ground for the third soccer goal of the game from North. Might as well start calling them the Socceroos. Bastinac started his quest on evening out his goals/behinds tally for his career, snapping his second to bring it to 2.7 for the year, then a third goal to Thomas saw the Roos out by a very handy 38 points. Damo was getting edgy, and the response to the umpires from Carlton supporters, Scott McLaren especially, is something that shouldn’t be in this article. Betts kicked his second, before booting his third from a free kick, and the margin was back to 27 points. Setanta O’hAilpin did the only useful thing for the night with a mark and goal, then a good mark to Jarrad Waite and goal saw the margin slashed right back to 16 points. Betts then slammed home his fourth, and the Blues were well and truly coming. Thomas stemmed the flow with his fourth, and the margin at half time was 17 points, 8.8 to 6.3. Thomas and Betts were battling it out as the most dangerous forward on the ground with four goals each.

We all decided to move to the bottom level, but after we couldn’t find any seats, we got some food and made our way back up to our original seats, not before Jeff losing some of his wedges after being heavily bumped by a few security guards rushing past chasing someone and some guy trying to steal Steve’s footy. Once we got back to where we were, the third quarter had started with Hamish McIntosh taking a good mark and snapping his first to give North some breathing space. Thomas couldn’t convert from a free kick, and Lachie Hansen sprayed his second shot at goal, but some desperation from Brady Rawlings in the forward 50 saw Sam Wright run in and goal from 35m out, taking the margin out to 31 points. Matthew Kreuzer kicked his first, and back to back goals to Waite saw the Blues back within 14 points as my heart rate started to rise, again. Then a quick clearance to Carlton saw Betts run into an open goal, his fifth, and it was back to eight points. I couldn’t believe that Carlton were starting to get on top of us, although my fears were eased a little when Thomas marked and steered through his fifth, and he was equal with Betts yet again, but more importantly the Roos had a 13 point lead going into the last change, 11.11 to 10.4.

We again tried to find some seats on the bottom level, again unsuccessfully for the first five minutes of the last quarter. We stood and watched as Thomas missed his 10th shot at goal, but sat as Thomas got goalside of his opponent to dribble through his sixth goal, a career-high. We had found some seats, deep in the Carlton cheersquad. Great. Damo, Steve and I sat together, while Dad and Jeff were a couple of rows behind. Carlton were getting ‘lucky behinds’, but were unlucky when Steven Browne’s ground shot flew into the post, bringing the margin to 17 points. Three goals and they could win. Brent Harvey had other ideas though. He’s good at sealing games, Boomer. With Bastinac charging forward on the wing, Boomer demanded the ball. He got it, took three bounces and kicked the goal on the run as every North supporter in the stadium jumped to their feet, saluting the little man and, knowing once and for all, that we were safe. Thomas put the final nail in the coffin after Cruize Garlett, one of our tackling and harassing machines, smothered Jordan Russell’s kick, the ball was won and moved forward to Thomas who wheeled around and slammed home his seventh, shutting the door on the Blues, as they filed out of the stadium to the cries of the Kangaroos’ fans, “Don’t leave, it’s not the end yet!” but this irked one certain Carlton supporter, who approached an innocent Roos’ man and started abusing him in an alcohol-induced rage. Security guards started to surround him, and the game was now in the back of people’s minds. But I watched as McIntosh took another strong mark but his shot missed from the boundary line. I waited for that siren to sound, and once it did it felt bloody sweet. For the whole week, North were promoting this game and pleading with their fans to come along. They did, a crowd of over 43,000 for a home game, and they saw North topple Carlton, a top-four aspirant. That should keep them coming every week.

We’re in the eight. For the first time since very early 2009, although I don’t think we’ll be in it come the end of Round 12. But with Port Adelaide at home next week, we should start favourites, should win and should be in the eight after Round 13. An amazing achievement for Brad Scott and the team of Joey’s.

We all walk out of Etihad Stadium, everyone genuinely happy, except for Damo. Carlton were very flat tonight, didn’t have many winners and a few of their players that always show up when Carlton are winning, they couldn’t be found. But as Dad, Jeff and I board the train, the wrong train in fact, we are extremely happy with the outcome of the match. And our record is intact.

North Melbourne 4.5—8.8—11.11—14.13.97

Carlton 1.2—6.3—10.4—10.8.68

Goalkickers:

North Melbourne-Thomas 7, Warren 2, Bastinac 2, Harvey, Wright, McIntosh

Carlton-Betts 5, Waite 3, O’hAilpin, Kruezer

Best:

North Melbourne-Thomas, Firrito, Garlett, Thompson, McMahon, Harvey, Warren, Goldstein, McIntosh, Ziebell, Pratt, Grima, Bastinac

Carlton-Gibbs, Betts, Jacobs, Hadley, Murphy, Waite

Crowd:

43,732 at Etihad Stadium

Votes:

3: Lindsay Thomas (NM)

2: Michael Firrito (NM)

1: Cruize Garlett (NM)

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. John Butler says:

    Josh

    You obviously made it home alright.

    How long did it take?

  2. JB

    We made it home right on the dot at 1:30AM. About 2 and a half hour trip. Just got home from the Richmond v West Coast game now.

  3. John Butler says:

    You are the marathon man. :)

    Jack’s 10 would have been great to see. I expect to read your report tomorrow.

    Many Almamackers there?

  4. Steve Healy says:

    Oh yeah good report Josh

  5. It was a terrific game JB, although the meet-up was a bit of an anti-climax, just myself, Steve, Adam, Jeff and Tim Ivins showed up. Oh and Daff was there but only for a quarter with us.

  6. Peter Flynn says:

    JB and Josh,

    We need to get the Round 8 Melb v WCE Malarkey Medal votes and submit them to the AFL as replacement votes for the Brownlow.

    PF

  7. John Butler says:

    Flynny

    Will they notice Juddy wasn’t playing in this game?

  8. Andrew Starkie says:

    Well done Josh, great piece. Friday was a great night to be a Roo.

  9. Andrew Starkie says:

    And you’re right about Cruize. he had a great game. Scotty keeps on dropping him and I can’t undersatnd why. he always produces.

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