AFL Round 9 – North Melbourne v Brisbane: The Positive Side

North Melbourne versus Brisbane

4.40 PM, 17th of May

Etihad Stadium, Melbourne

Jonathan Sloan


In general, I’m not a particularly optimistic person. I’ll look at a situation and the first thing that I’ll identify will be what the worst possible result could be. But in recent times, I’ve made a concerted effort to try to make sure that my football experiences don’t deteriorate into this depression; rather that I find some sort of positive in each experience. For example: Today the mighty St Kevin’s 5ths went down to Xavier by 80-ish points. BUT ON THE POSITIVE SIDE at least we kicked a couple of great team goals and put up a fight against a stronger opposition. But soon this match was out of my head as I made the trip to Eithad for the Brisbane/North match; the first I would attend as a Brisbane member.


Even waiting at Thornbury station, I found myself having to rethink my thought process. I was told by some fellow Lions fans that Tom Rockliff and Joel Patfull had joined Matt Maguire and Sam Mayes on our ever-extensive injury list BUT ON THE POSITIVE SIDE it meant that Nick Robertson was back in the side, a young kid I really rate as good for our future, plus I got to have a great conversation with two fans who stretched back into the old Fitzroy days.  By the time my mate Locky and I had taken our seats on Level 3, I assumed that today wouldn’t result in a win, but I hoped that at least our kids would put up a good fight. Within minutes though, this assumption became a guarantee as the ever-ageless Brent Harvey, Majak Daw, Leigh Adams and Aaron Black pile on goals before the Lions can register a score BUT ON THE POSITIVE SIDE James Aish is again looking impressive, and there was a nice passage of play featuring Tom Cutler and Claye Beams.


It just gets worse from here. The second quarter sees Lindsey Thomas want to get in on the goalkicking action, and some impressive marks by Daw shows just how big the loss of Patfull is, especially because it means undersized first-year Darcy Gardiner has had to step up. BUT ON THE POSITIVE SIDE Michael Close kicks his first two goals in AFL footy and Andrew Raines is doing a reasonable job keeping Andrew Swallow quiet in his first game back.


But after half time, it goes from a North masterclass to a bloodbath. The Harvey show continues to roll on as he slots another, with additional cameos by Thomas and Adams, while defensive general Scott Thompson repels the ball expertly on the few occasions it finds its way into the Lions’ forward half. The comparison between the elder statesman of each side really sums up the game. Harvey played a phenomenal game, gathering 39 possessions and outrunning almost everyone on the ground, while our equivalent, Jonathan Brown, has two touches for the match and just couldn’t get into a good position. Dayne Zorko is subbed off after having no effect and Pearce Hanley is turning the ball over at every opportunity. BUT ON THE POSITIVE SIDE these Etihad Stadium jam donuts are delicious.


By the final quarter, I’ve sort of lost interest. To have seen us go from just a few points shy of the finals one year to the league’s biggest joke the next tends to have that effect. I’ll continue to come to the games in Melbourne though, because I know the players can feel it. The media is willing to jump all over Brisbane, with all our off-field issues and mass youth exodus, and it’s not uncommon for the name “Brendan Fevola” to still be bandied around, but the supporters can’t give up now. As Lindsey Thomas coolly slots his fourth goal, morale is at rock bottom. BUT ON THE POSITIVE SIDE Josh Green’s third raises us two points ahead of our lowest ever score. So we’ve been in a worse spot. It will all come good. Eventually.


I’m on the 112 tram on the way home with about an even amount of North and Brisbane supporters. As I stare into my coffee cup in reflection, the North fans are vocal and boisterous, as they deserve to be after such a demolishing, if inaccurate, performance.  The Lions faithful are subdued, thinking back to the good old days of Voss, Lynch, Pike, Ashcroft and the Scott’s. Unfortunately though, I’m just too young to have these memories. This Lions side is all I’ve got. BUT ON THE POSITIVE SIDE at least the coffee’s good.


North Melbourne 5.5 8.11 13.18 17.23 (125)
Brisbane 1.1 3.2 4.2 6.2 (38)


Goals: North Melbourne: Thomas 4, Black 3, Harvey, Adams 2, Daw, Greenwood, Wright, Ziebell, Nahas, Goldstein

Brisbane: Green 3, Close 2, Beams


Best: North Melbourne: Harvey, Thomas, Thompson, Black, Nahas, Gibson

Brisbane: Beams, Green, Aish, Adcock, Golby


Umpires: Margetts, Mollison, O’Gorman. Crowd: 21,152


Our Votes: Harvey (NM) 3, Thomas (NM), Thompson (NM) 1




  1. Andrew Starkie says

    Great piece, Jonathan. I can understand a first year coach wanting to limit the damage by ordering one on one and, risk free, possession footy. Particularly if a virus has run through a club as reported. However, I wish Leppitsch had allowed his team to take the game on in the second half. The lack of run and overlap and long kicking to position, or to space in the forward are, to create a chase and contest, made scoring impossible. Surely, a few goals would have eventuated from getting the ball in quickly and applying pressure to North. Keep positive.

  2. Peter Schumacher says

    Unfortunately injuries have just killed us this year.

  3. Andrew Weiss says

    In the mid to late nineties the Lions were struggling to win games and were regulars at the bottom part of the AFl table BUT ON THE POSITIVE SIDE they won three premierships in a row (just about four) not to many years later.

    Eighteen months ago Port were a miserable heap of an AFL footy team but have a look at them now.

    That’s the thing about AFL footy it can quite often turn around quickly. As a Lions supporter that is all I can hope for at the moment.

  4. Peter Schumacher says

    Port are a great role model for how to turn tihngs around in the current era.

  5. matt watson says

    ON THE POSITIVE SIDE the AFL will not let Brisbane suffer too much longer.
    There will be some form of relief, either at the draft or through financial incentives.
    ON THE POSITIVE SIDE, Brisbane is too important to the AFL and their expansionist plans.

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