AFL Round 14 – North Melbourne v GWS Giants: An advertisement for rugby union

By Daniel O’Sullivan

If there was ever an event to feed Andrew Demetriou’s pathological fear of the “other codes”, then the weekend’s Etihad Stadium double-header was it.

The difference between the Wallabies v Lions blockbuster on Saturday night to the Sunday afternoon Giants v Kangaroos snoozefest cannot simply be measured in sales of Carlton Draught alone (for those keeping score  – $2.1 billion  vs $210, or something).  The gulf between the two spectacles is probably best described as the difference between The Godfather and  Fast and the Furious 6.

One was an historic single-point victory that see-sawed dramatically in the final five minutes, while the other was such a dirge that Dennis Commetti gave us an update on his son’s wrestling career (aka The Beast) and we found out Drew Petrie’s mum is also Ron Andrews’s sister.

The only people I could think of that may request a tape of the game for posterity would be Petrie’s mum, as it was her son’s first genuine bag of a disappointing season, and a member of the Match Review Panel, in order to get a closer look at Lindsay Thomas’ Liverpool kiss.

If ever there was an advertisement for Rugby Union, the Giants and the Kangaroos provided it on Sunday. But it didn’t necessarily start out this way.

The first quarter was a confident one by a team bereft of any. After seven goals in its last seven quarters of football, North Melbourne blitzed the young Giants with an eight goal first quarter. The game was open and the Kangaroos were looking ominous, the shackles were off! And then came the GWS shut down.

There’s been plenty of speculation about who is actually behind the wheel of the Giants juggernaut. Sure, ruddy-faced Sheeds is granting coaches-box interviews and he seems to be doing all the talking at the quarter-time break, but is he really the brains behind the Giants tactical nouse?

The GWS decision to play ten defenders behind the ball from the second quarter onwards seemed to be diametrically opposed to Sheeds’ longstanding philosophy of football as entertainment. Given he was employed by the AFL as a master spruiker behind enemy lines in Sydney, it seems doubtful he would have pulled the trigger on such a negative tactic.

But for Leon Cameron and the other GWS “assistants” this was clearly more about damage limitation than cultivating a supporter base.

At the moment the Giants aren’t in danger of beating the bye. They are treading water until their talented batch of young talent matures and they can steel themselves for the rest of the competition on a level playing field. It sure didn’t help that their two key forward drawcards, Jonathan Patton and Jeremy Cameron weren’t playing, and Setanta o’hAilpen was.

Alas, for the time being, entertaining football is not on the agenda for the Giants and while it may limit the free-fall of their percentage it makes for a waste of a Sunday afternoon.

For North fans, its perhaps best to enjoy these victories over the competition’s minnows while we can, pretty soon Buddy will be lining up across the half forward line and the beast the AFL have created will be making fools of us all.

NORTH MELBOURNE                         8.3    12.6  15.10  19.16   (130)

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY        1.3     5.3     6.6      6.8        (44)



North Melbourne: Petrie 5, Thomas 4, Harvey 3, Tarrant, Mullett, Adams, Bastinac, Ziebell, Goldstein, Macmillan

Greater Western Sydney: O’hAilpin 2, Corr, Sumner, Hoskin-Elliott, Reid



North Melbourne:  Hansen, Thompson, Petrie, Thomas, Harvey, Swallow, Bastinac Gibson

Greater Western Sydney:  Corr, Treloar, Scully, Shiel

Our Votes: 3 Hansen (NM.) 2 Swallow (H) 1 Harvey (H)



  1. Stainless says

    Arguably the AFL missed an opportunity to promote the code internationally to the hordes of Lions’ fans who invaded Melbourne on the weekend. OK, they’re rusted on rugby followers but, surely they’d have grabbed the chance to do their pre-Test imbibing at the MCG watching a decent AFL game, had one been scheduled?

Leave a Comment