AFL Round 13 – Adelaide v North Melbourne: three 21st birthdays, three Kangaroo losses

I don’t have a good track record with 21st   birthdays and North Melbourne. My sister’s 21st in 2005 was spent listening to a radio as the Roos went down narrowly to West Coast on a Friday night, while my brother’s a couple of years later was followed by a 106 point loss to Geelong in a Qualifying Final. My girlfriend, fast approaching the special age, had started making plans for her big night. My one request was for it not to be at the same time North was playing. This fell on deaf ears, and I resigned myself to the fact that I would spend North’s first visit to Adelaide Oval checking my phone every 20 minutes.

I unselfishly put my hand up to be the designated driver for the night, so my night started by going to various points to pick people up and ferry them to The Carrington, a high-class hotel based by the Shepparton Lake. I realised when I got there that there was a tab on the bar, immediately making me regret my decision. There was also no TV in our room to sneak a look at. Sitting beside me were two good friends, also North supporters, who both agreed that the season to this point had been a bit of a disappointment despite some stirring victories.

The game starts, and not one minute passes, and I’ve already pulled my phone out to check the score. 0-1 thanks to Drew Petrie. The scores are quickly levelled though, before Adelaide take the lead with a few goals in a row. My social media feed is talking about an Eddie Betts goal that has to be seen to be believed. Twitter says North are rattled. I tell a friend beside me to pass the phone on to my Dad, about seven seats down from me, so he can check the score. In the time the phone was passed back to me, North rallied with two goals. That makes me feel better.

The entrées come out. My friends have opted for beef ravioli and pumpkin soup. I have a seafood platter with salad. I offer a swap for the ravioli but no one complies. My main of chicken with camembert sauce arrives soon after. I decide to quickly check the scores before tucking in. 40 points down. My stomach drops, and I relay the news to the blue and white faithful next to me, who let out a collective groan, a groan I know all too well. It comes with being a North supporter. How can the likes of Atley and Mullett provide so much run and carry one week, then struggle so much defensively the next? How can Drew kick four in a quarter, then barely have a touch less than a week later? It has been a horribly inconsistent season.

Once the meals are done with, it is time for the speeches. I am instructed by the whole table to stand and offer a word. Without any rehearsal, I stumble my way through it, mind elsewhere, and Happy Birthday is sung. The next time I check the scores, Adelaide’s lead has ballooned out to 50 points, and I decide to put my phone away for the rest of the night.

Plenty of photos are taken, and I wonder if I’ll ever get some normal eyesight back on account of all the flashes. The night is far from done though. A small group of us go out to a club to continue on partying, which is a lot harder to do with no alcohol in your system as I discovered. It’s nearly 2am when we pull up stumps, not without a late McDonalds visit, and I’m in bed by 3:30 after dropping everyone off. Before drifting off to sleep, I remember to check my phone. 109 to 73. I make a mental note to organise my 21st next year when North aren’t playing.


Adelaide    4.4    8.7     13.10     16.13    (109)

North Melbourne  1.2    4.3    6.7    10.13    (73)


Adelaide: Kerridge 4; Betts 3; Podsiadly, Jenkins, Walker 2; Wright, Smith, Mackay.

North Melbourne: Thomas 4; Harvey 2; Greenwood, Bastinac, Petrie, Hansen.



Adelaide: Smith, Thompson, Sloane, Betts, Talia, Podsiadly.

North Melbourne: Atley, Harvey, McDonald, Greenwood, Thomas.


Umpires          Fleer, Rosebury, Bannister

Crowd          47,205


Our votes       Smith (Adel.) 3, Thompson (Adel.) 2, Atley (NM) 1.


About Josh Barnstable

21 year old North Melbourne supporter from country Victoria. Currently living in Melbourne studying a Bachelor of Sports Media. Dreams of becoming a sports journalist and broadcaster.


  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I kept waiting for the inevitable comeback. Josh, but your mob didn’t fire a shot. you are lucky to have missed it.

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