Round 2 – Geelong v North Melboure: It’s time to move on
It’s time to move on
We are just two rounds into the 2017 season, and already many are calling it a ‘game of the year’ contender.
It was a trilling contest at Etihad Stadium, with just one point separating North Melbourne and Geelong.
North played three quarters of cracking football, in what was their best display since early 2016. Tackling at every opportunity, they finished the game with 16 more tackles than the Cats. North were more than happy to take the game on, with lightning quick sequences down the ground. They were hungry, and they were damaging. Their performance made everyone stand up and notice, and there is plenty to talk about.
However, before that – credit where it’s due. The Cats’ comeback was inevitable and unfortunately, North weren’t good enough to withstand the final quarter onslaught. Patrick Dangerfield was outstanding once again, and captain Joel Selwood played an inspiring final quarter. They are a great side, and found a way to victory.
However at games end, all the talk was about the Roos. I will be the first one to admit I had mentally prepared myself for a hammering at the hands of Geelong. With the loss to West Coast still fresh in my mind, and the absence of Waite and Goldstein to injury – I found it hard to imagine North putting in the fight that they did… and oh boy was I ecstatic to be proven wrong. They were electric, they were unforgiving and they threw everything they had at the Cats. They simply outplayed Geelong for most of the game, and responded brilliantly to the Cats’ second quarter fight back by piling on eight third-quarter goals; the margin even exceeding five goals at one stage. However, North ran out of answers in the final term and Geelong marched on to take the four points.
The last time these two sides met, Geelong walked away 31 point winners. North were dismal after half time and it was a forgettable game. From that night in June to today’s clash, there had been 10 changes to the line up. Those changes include the absence of Harvey, Wells, Dal Santo, Petrie and Firrito.
Today, a injured Drew Petrie and Daniel Wells are watching their new clubs on from the sidelines. And the others? Dal Santo is happy to weigh in on every club’s ups and downs in his new media role, while Brent Harvey and Michael Firitto remain two of North’s biggest supporters. Both attending games in the opening two weeks, and both excited about the future of this club.
There is so much to like about the future of North Melbourne, and today was the day we have all been waiting for. While there will still be many doubts amongst AFL fans, the Roos proved that they can move on and match it with the best.
While you are never going to be able to replace the departed legends of the club, you can start to breed some new ones. Jy Sympkin, Braydon Preuss, Shaun Atley, Luke McDonald, Trent Dumont and Kayne Turner were amongst those who impressed. Majak Daw, Ben Brown and Marley Williams all had an influence, while Shaun Higgins and Ben Cunnington were superb.
While it wasn’t enough to claim victory today, it will be in the near future. It was a very disappointing loss, and effort doesn’t get you the four points but I still think the result blew everyone away.
Amazingly, North gained more respect from today’s loss than after nine wins in a row to open season 2016.
This is where the new chapter begins for North Melbourne, and it’s time to move on from the heartache of last season. While the challenge remains for the Roos to show the same fight and efforts from today’s game, it just proves that they are capable of making something of this season. They have re-invented and re-defined what it is to be a Shinboner, and the spirit that lives in the football club. The kids will learn, the team will play more in sync and the wins will come.
It’s early days yet, it’s good to be excited – be positive and continue looking to the future.
It was the game of football that everyone had to see, and give supporters the opportunity to believe in the future of the club.
It’s now time to let go of last season’s decisions, and realise there is so much to look forward to.
Leave 2016 in the past… it’s time to move on.
Marnie Cohen studies journalism at Deakin University.