AFL Round 10 – North Melbourne v St.Kilda: Boomer’s 350th

 By Paul Thomson

After two weeks of torment for the North supporter (2pt loss to the Eagles and 1pt loss to Adelaide), my plan was not to go to the footy. I was headed for a monastery instead. These past two weeks had taken its toll on my psyche, of which I would normally regard as resilient. I wanted to sit in silence and just be free of any electronic devices and children. My resolve had lasted until Friday evening. Much to my wife’s chagrin I was bound for the Dandenongs, ironically somewhere near the television towers that fed signals to those that lived nearby. Gregorian chants and peace were all I wanted not anything vaguely footy-related.

A funny thing happened at dinner on the Friday night. An offer of work tickets to the Access One, Etihad Stadium’s equivalent of the MCG Members. These seats were on level 2, the stadium’s best vantage point. Hmmm…the sounds of conflict dominated my thought process, a wrestle between my stated ambition for Sunday evening and some really good seats. I would have to mull it over. The footy tragic in me won, the monastery could wait. It might not have been that peaceful anyway. A Royal Commission was hanging over monasteries and those therein at present, all the more reason to take advantage of the Etihad offer. It also provided me with an opportunity to take my eldest son, who had denounced the Royal Blue and White in favour of the Navy Blues preferred by his mother. Getting him to a North game has been a challenge of late.

A blistering opening quarter by North Melbourne saw it lead by 55 points at the first change. Young gun Aaron Black led the charge with 4 goals for the quarter, ably assisted by ex-basketballer Todd Goldstein who was dominating the rucks. Listless was not a description I had used to describe St.Kilda’s effort for ages. The first quarter by the Saints was exactly that. Bereft of energy, the Saints were reduced to spectators as the North players ferried the ball up and down the ground with little resistance. Milney, Sam Fisher and other barometers of St. Kilda’s near-Premiership era were quiet as Nick Riewoldt played a lone hand mostly against three hungry North defenders.

Having grown up in St.Kilda’s old recruiting zone in the bayside and southern suburbs of Melbourne, I had a strong affinity for the Saints. My brother had lobbied unsuccessfully to get me on board in the mid-70’s. The 1975 flag, aka the drought-breaker, at Arden Street was the clincher, coupled with my best mate at school, whose dad was North’s club doctor. Kick to kick at his place always involved names such as Breidis, Schimmelbusch, Blight and some obligatory long bombs to Snake Baker, whilst he sat under the palm tree with a Courage beer in his hand. North had and still have Courage.

Life is full of ironies as my Navy-Blue loving son, now plays for the local junior footy team, the Kangaroos, who are sponsored by the not-quite-geographic neighbours at Arden Street.

The view of the game was fantastic on level 2. Everything can be seen and clearly, a reinforcement that Etihad was built from perceived flaws in the design of VFL Park. As a 55-point lead morphed into a 68-point win, Riewoldt managed to inspire his teammates’ output after quarter time. Footy is a strange game. Sometimes you can inflict enough damage on your opponent that it doesn’t matter what happens for the rest of the game.

The recent formline was enough to suggest that the North players wanted to atone for their past fortnight in the eyes of the supporters. From the coaching staff’s point-of-view, it can be summed up by one saying: Bring Your Mouthguards to Training. The implication was bruising, pain and physicality at training. North players knew their coach had a history in this regard as a player and he meant business. Heaven help the Saints players come game time Sunday. Good teams don’t need to be told, they bring it every week. Both North and the Saints will get up there again. It’s only a matter of time.

For Boomer Harvey and Daniel Wells, a great way to celebrate their 350th and 200th games respectively. For Joey Montagna, not such a good 200th, although he did try hard.

North Melbourne        9.7       13.10   17.14               19.19.133
St.Kilda                       1.0         4.3       9.3                 10.5.65

North Melbourne: Black 5, Petrie, Harvey 4, Thomas 3, Bastinac, Wright, Mullett
St.Kilda:  Reiwoldt 3, Stanley 2, Steven, Milne, Webster, Montagna, Geary


North Melbourne: Goldstein, Black, Harvey, Mullett, Hansen, Petrie
St.Kilda: Ray, Reiwoldt, Dal Santo, Montagna

Umpires: Justin “Massive” Schmitt, “Razor” Ray Chamberlain & Nick Foot “In mouth”

Official crowd: 25,068

Our Votes: 3 Goldstein (NM) 2 Black (NM) 1 Harvey (NM)


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