Round 4 – North Melbourne v Western Bulldogs: Over the top with Les
Was someone trying to tell me something? Heading home to watch the Dogs/North game I misjudged the curb and crashed my bike. Over the handlebars I went. Coincidentally, I did the same thing on Christmas Day. Good Friday? Christmas Day? Stop riding my bike? Be more religious? No footy on Good Friday AFL? Like…er, concentrate!
Admittedly, I had started to think about the football – not on what was on the path in front of me. Oh well, I’m still in one piece, I’m not letting go of bike riding nor am I going to stop thinking about the Dogs. You can’t change the spots on a dog.
To the game. The TV commentators have gone through their pre-game analysis, my Hot Cross bun is going down well with my cup of tea (no beer today either) and I’m ready. GO DOGS!
After a great run from the backline, Stringer goals. He makes a bunny ears salute, which I later find out was to a young kid he visited at the Royal Children’s Hospital. Nice. After a chain of passes Brown gets one for North. From a free kick in the backline, Bont goals. Goldstein goals. Matthew Boyd gets caught dropping the ball but Jy Simpkin’s kick doesn’t make the distance. The Dogs are attacking but the siren beats them. A tight opening quarter with North 2 points in front but they should have been more. They seem to be making a lot of unnecessary mistakes. I can feel this game is not going to be easy at all.
In the second quarter Cloke misses two, then Dahlhaus makes a bad handball resulting in a goal to Brown. Murphy makes a mistake and Brown gets another. North are up by a goal and Brown is starring. At half time North have increased their lead to 11 points. The Bulldogs managed only 6 points for the quarter. It has been a tight scrappy affair but 2 goals up until half-time? C’mon Dogs?
The third quarter was amazing – a totally different game. North piled on four goals to shoot out to a 25 point lead and it suddenly looked disastrous for the Dogs. Suckling had been horrible in the first half but finally with the oddest looking kick you will ever see put one through for the Dogs and more importantly got them back in the game, From there it was more goals to the Dogs and at three quarter time they had pulled back the deficit to only 2 points.
The final quarter was an absolute thriller. The lead see-sawed .The Dogs got out to 10 points in front to have it whittled back to 4. With 2 minutes remaining it was all defence. In the dying minutes Thomas had two opportunities. The first was marked by Johannisen. The second was a running shot on the siren but fortunately for us it went through for a point. It could easily have been the match- winning goal for the 200 gamer.
In the end we just made it through to get ourselves back in the top eight. Dahlhaus and Bontompelli were brilliant and Cunnington never stopped for North. It is really tough now for the Kangaroos. They lost two tight games they should have won. To be down 0-4 seems unfair. They are a better side than that.
North Melbourne 2.4 4.9 8.11 12.14.86
Western Bulldogs 2.2 2.8 9.15 12.17.80
North Melbourne: Brown 4, Turner 2, Simpkin 2, Higgins, Goldstein, Garner, Ziebell
Western Bulldogs: Stringer 2, Suckling 2, Dahlhaus 2, Bontompelli, Cloke, Dunkley, Murphy, Macrae, Liberatore
North Melbourne: Cunnington, Brown, Thompson Ziebell, Goldstein, Macmillan, Hrovat
Western Bulldogs: Dahlhaus, Bontompelli, Lin Jong, Stringer, M.Boyd, Macrae, Murphy
Our votes: Dahlhaus, Cunnington, Bontompelli
Umpires: Meredith, Williamson, Findlay