Thommo not the only one left with a headache

North Melbourne versus Western Bulldogs

2.10pm, Saturday, May 22

Etihad Stadium

I shouldn’t be here.  I’m crook; lethargic and headachy.  I should be home, resting, listening to the radio.  But I can’t help myself.  Missing a North game is like piking on a family gathering.

I’m sitting alone in the top tier, southern end.  My half of the ground is draped in sunshine and I could almost doze off in the late Autumn warmth.  Northerners and Bulldogs greet friends, unwrap homemade sandwiches and get the beers in.

I’ve just passed by Liam Anthony on the concourse where he was signing autographs.  His damaged shoulder is still in a sling.  Hale and McIntosh have joined him and Petrie on the sidelines as our injury list grows by the week.  O’Keefe comes in for his first game and makes his way to full-forward.  Pratty plays his 100th – it’s only taken him ten years.

The game begins in a lazy, almost sleepy fashion.  The early exchanges lack physicality, typical of recent matches between North and the Bulldogs.

We are having the better of the play, however, can’t capitalize. Ziebell and Goldstein miss sitters and O’Keefe’s nerves get the better of him and he drops a sitter.

The Bulldogs take a while to get going.  Cooney is featuring around the packs.

The Bulldogs’ first goal takes twelve minutes.  It’s quickly followed by five more as they score easily when going forward.

North continue to attack with no success.  With the above mentioned players out injured, our forward line looks like a deserted town in a western movie.  We lead the Inside 50s 20 to 10, however, are goalless at quarter-time and trail by 31 points.  This is doing little for my headache.

The second term is a training run for the Bulldogs.  They’re doing a circle work drill out there.  Lake, Boyd and Hargrave have their own balls.  The goals keep coming.

North are terrible.  No forward line pressure.  No intensity.  The blokes behind me say ‘soft’.  I agree.

It’s nine goals to zip at the 27 minute mark, when things go from embarrassing to humiliating.

Scott Thompson is a true North Melbourne man.  A fine defender, who wears the Kangaroo jumper with obvious pride and relish.  He is building a career by playing the role of the close checking, niggling backman.  He often plays on the opposition’s number one forward, giving up height and weight. He is rarely badly beaten.

I really like Thommo, but he stuffs up here.

Barry Hall bends over to tie his boot laces, when Thompson pushes him over.  Hall grabs Thompson in a headlock and it takes four Kangaroos to drag Big Bad away.  A free is awarded down field to North.  Hall is coming off the ground when more Kangaroos run to him, chesting and bumping.  Hall raises his arms in the air to show he’s not retaliating.

Scrimmages break out up the field, North receive two 50 metre penalties and Campbell kicks our first goal of the match.  This is what it takes for us to finally kick a goal.

Thommo and the other Kangaroos who harassed Hall have humiliated the club and themselves.  If you’re going to rough someone up, do it early in the game, not when we trail by the good part of ten goals, time-on, second term.  It was schoolyard stuff.  Childish, misplaced aggression.

45 points down at half-time.  I almost consider going home.

The third term opens with a bit more vigour from North.  It doesn’t last long.  Boomer does a complete u-turn while running through centre half-forward, turns it over, and the Bulldogs race up the other end for another goal.

Cunnington has been observing teammates and is developing into a league footballer: he is receiving the ball, turning away from goal and delivering backwards.  I wonder if he is enjoying AFL footy.

McMahon takes a hanger – our only highlight for the match.

The Bulldogs have converted 33 Inside 50s into eighteen goals.  They lead by 75 points at the last change.

The last quarter is a waste of time for everyone.  It offers an argument for the mercy rule.  With the sting long gone, Thomas and Wells collect kicks.  We outscore the Bulldogs who have done enough and are thinking of the showers and next week.  Lake has had over forty touches, most of them uncontested, due to our non-existent forward line.

The final margin is 70 points.  I leave with my headache no better for the outing and wonder why I bothered coming.

NORTH MELBOURNE 0.5 2.10 4.13 7.15 (57)

WESTERN BULLDOGS 6.0 11.1 18.4 20.7 (127)

GOALS

Western Bulldogs: Hill 4; Hall 3; Cooney, Grant 2; Hudson, Stack, Giansiracusa, Akermanis, Picken, Hahn, Eagleton, Griffen, Minson.

North Melbourne: Edwards 2; Ziebell, Thomas, Campbell, McMahon, Wright.

BEST

Western Bulldogs: Cooney, Lake, Hill, Griffen, Boyd, Hargrave.

North Melbourne: the Kangaroo members for going to the game and sitting through that crap

CROWD 30,794 at Etihad Stadium

The Jason Daniltchenko Award

3 – no one

2 –

1 –

Comments

  1. Danielle says:

    Awww :(
    Cheer up! :(
    It really does suck when your team lets you down.
    I don’t know about you, but I’m finding it pretty hard to keep the hope this season.
    If my boys can’t beat Geelong or the Saints (when we were ahead on the scoreboard and minus their blond boofhead captain) then what good are we really?
    As for your boys they are still young and will make mistakes; luckily for them you seem to have great patience and a strong passion for your club.

    Edwards seems to be playing well, what are your thoughts on him so far?

    Danni

    Danni

  2. C’mon Danni, your a year 12 student and you’re typing your name twice. Lift your game mate.

    Mr. Starkie, probably our worst game of the year bar the St Kilda match. Things would have been different at the start if we could kick straight. It could have, should have and would have been at least 4.0.24 to nothing. But, you really pay the prices when the boys kick 0.8 (was it?) before getting their first major.

    After this insipid effort, don’t laugh, but do not be surprised if North knock off Freo over in the wild west. You heard it from me first.

    Petrie’s back, it will be a massive lift.

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