AFL Round 15 – Brisbane v North Melbourne: Time to get angry

I’m angry.

At least I think I am.

I don’t know how angry to be.

Mainly because I don’t know who to be angry at.

Max Warren, who only troubled the statisticians for one kick but did an ok defensive job on Sam Mayes? Frankly, it’s not as if the outcome of the great Max Warren/Taylor Hine controversy had much bearing on the result.

Ben Brown in his second game, who couldn’t really get near it and is still a bit skinny? Nah. I’m more peeved about the 13 supercoach points than anything else if I’m honest.

Brad McKenzie? Looks beautiful when he has it, but doesn’t have it much. First rounders should be making more of an impact in their 3rd year, don’t you think? Still, you put a slow-ish winger, best suited to dropping pinpoint passes inside 50, onto Hanley? Never going to work out that well.

Spud Firrito? Didn’t I say before that he looks good when you give him the right matchup and terrible otherwise? Why did this have to be the week you turned back into the 2013 Spud?

Leigh Adams? Well, sure he was terrible, but, but … it’s Patch, man. Never been the same since Judd pulled his arm off. I can’t be mad at Patch.

Ziebell, Black? Need more from both of them, but they’re both playing through busted shoulders. And it’s not like with Wells, Grima, Hansen, Macmillan, Tarrant, Nahas, Tippett, Garner, Delaney all looking on we have the luxury of resting even more blokes. Geez.

Drew Petrie, who finally nailed some set shots, kicked 4 of our 9 but instead of backing himself to pot the winning goal shanked a cross to Bastinac? Yeah, actually I am a bit angry about that. You’re the vice captain Drew ya dill, take the damn shot.

Ryan Bastinac? Srsly dude, how long does it take to “adjust” to a “tweak” in your “role”? You’re better than that. Hardly his fault that he keeps getting games though.

Steve Saunders? You’re supposed to be the miracle man. The most sought after physio in the biz. But look at that injury list. Only one soft-tissue among the lot and pretty much all just rotten luck.

Brad Scott? I’ve been pretty resolutely a Brad supporter. But Brad? Happy at quarter time? The Lions had clearly found their mojo by about the 20 minute mark. If the boys should have buried them but didn’t, give a spray, not a pat on the bum.

I mean, individually it’s hard to get too down on any one thing. But collectively …


Apparently not. Comprehensively outworked. Despite beating them on contested possessions, inside-50s and clearances, utterly failed to make any effort to get the ball back off Brisbane. 39 marks to 112. 50 fewer uncontested possessions. Damning. For the Lions, Rockliff, Hanley and the small forwards — Green, Taylor, Zorko — were great. As a group they lifted for a game that meant something to them. And my mob of soft, unaccountable “footballers” let them.

At the end of the day, a football club’s currency in the AFL business is hope. Between family memberships, Hobart Extensions, Social Club medallions and whatever merch, there’s about eight hundred bucks worth of hope sitting in the kitchen drawer. And it’s stretched pretty thin at the moment. What am I hoping for now?

That Wellsy and Narni and JMac will get back on the park in time for the run home? S’pose.

That I’ll get to see a final in Melbourne for the first time in about 7 years? S’pose.

That Brad will somehow figure out how to communicate to this rabble what is acceptable and that there are consequences for not pulling your weight? That he can figure out how to progress from teacher and list-builder to a proper grown-up coach?

Yeah, that’s it.


BRISBANE LIONS 1.1 8.4 10.5 10.10 (70)
NORTH MELBOURNE 3.5 4.7 6.9 9.12 (66)

Brisbane Lions: Green 3, Aish 2, Beams 2, Close, Zorko, Merrett
North Melbourne: Petrie 4, Swallow 2, Thomas, Gibson, Harvey

Brisbane Lions: Hanley, Rockliff, Aish, Taylor, Zorko, Green
North Melbourne: Swallow, Gibson, Cunnington, Petrie, Jacobs

Umpires: Donlon, Fleer, Stephens

Official crowd: 15,862 at the Gabba


  1. Andrew Starkie says


    I worked Saty night, so only listened to bits on the radio. Caught the highlights and last two minutes on the AFL site the enxt morning. Soft, lazy, second and third to the ball, arrogant, spectators at contets. Lions taking uncontested marks, North players behind their man (Bastinac!!!). Why do they think they’re good enough they can take any team lightly. Now we’re back in the pack and fighting to make the 8. Hawks this weak will be very tough.

  2. Gary Robb says

    Rob An excellant critique of the Saturday night disgrace . The problem begins and ends with the coach -North have gone backwards in the 5 years that he has been in charge .He has developed a core group of players who are mentally weak and who play accordingly . He has one game plan -a loose man in defence .On Saturday night ,in the wet and trailing by 3 goals , he still persisted with it .Shades of the Gold Coast game the year before when he was also comprehensively outcoached .

  3. Andrew Starkie says

    week, not weak.

    Drew has played 250 plus and still is a confidence player. A leader would’ve slotted that goal. Not pass it off.

  4. Gary, I wish it were that simple. Of all the things a senior coach has to be – list builder, teacher, people manager, media manager, strategist, tactician – he’s good at a lot of them. He’s got them objectively, measurably better at most on-field measures every year he’s been in charge. If he went at the end of the season I think his legacy would be overall a positive one.

    And yet …

    His inability to create a culture where the players all know what they have to expect from themselves and each other certainly looks like a problem from the outside. I’m still holding out hope that he can turn this around, but I’m starting to edge toward Smokie territory on this one.

  5. Andrew, that’s been the common thread through all the losses, hasn’t it? Not so much effort at the actual contest, but working hard enough to get the ball back through direct pressure. The new defensive setup seems to me built around zoning back, forcing opposition forward-50 entries to bad spots and making it hard to create and convert easy chances. Done properly, the Freo/Sydney way, that’s combined with lots of direct pressure, which we don’t seem to know how to bring consistently.

    And yeah, Drew. Drew, Drew, Drew.

  6. matt watson says

    Hey Rob,
    It was just so predictable so I’m not surprised.
    But I am disgusted. Almost everyone in Australia knew Brisbane would be fired up to honour Jonathon Brown. Everyone except the North Melbourne football club…
    We weren’t as much passengers in the second quarter – we were asleep.
    If you think it was bad on the couch with a glass of red, try being there and watching the loose men streaming into the forward line.
    It wasn’t all Drew’s fault. Ben Brown’s only kick led to a turnover which led to a goal. Del Santo rarely kicked to advantage – he seemed intent on kicking to one on three. We panicked without pressure.
    And how do professional (sic) footballers forget to play in front?
    It was pathetic.

  7. buccaneer says

    Neither of the Scott brothers can coach – period. Neither of them have any kind of plan B. The one at Geelong has been surrounded by a really good ecosystem and great players. As they drop away his coaching shortcomings will be increasingly exposed. The one at North has had a great list for his whole tenure which is now falling apart. He is the biggest failure in coaching in the last 5 years and no-one is prepared to call it.

    Actually they are both arrogant. They both have the media more bluffed than Malthouse does (well actually Malthouse doesn’t. No-one is scared of the old guy anymore). Brad was marvellous after the game wasn’t he – he says he is within his right to give opposition players lip right in the middle of his ex comrades valedictory speech.

  8. Brad Scott has run his race.
    Last Saturday night was the nadir of the season…so far

  9. Gary Robb says

    Brad and his team of merry men really wielded the axe at the selection table last night !! The Untouchables -Black ,Adams , and Bastinac – kept their spots while repeat offenders and serial duds Anthony and Wright have been exhumed despite their history of failing in pressure games .Mullett is entitled to feel hard done by , Warren gets the chop after one game but the world class underperformers keep their spots ! Agree with Smokie – Scott has run his race. Nearly choked on my cornflakes when I read the Carey article in The Age this morning ,where he labels Scott as one of the emerging great coaches !! He must be looking for a berth as an assistant coach !

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