AFL Round 15 – North Melbourne v Richmond: Roos make a tough day a little easier

North Melbourne versus Richmond
2:10pm, Saturday, 6 July
Etihad Stadium
Josh Barnstable

Today is a tough day. It is my sister’s first birthday since she sadly passed away late last year. A general bye in local footy means that my afternoon is free, and not wanting to spend the day at home, I decide to head to Melbourne to watch the crucial game between the disappointing Kangaroos, and the finals-bound Richmond. After a rather sleepless night, it’s time for me to leave home to catch my train. Driving down my road, I suddenly stop to look for my train ticket. I can’t see it anywhere. Preferring to be safe than sorry, I do a u-turn and dash back home, and search my room for the ticket. It’s nowhere to be seen, so I make an executive decision that it must be in my car, somewhere. Reaching underneath my seat, I grasp it, and my nerves disappear. However I am running slightly late as a result.

A quick visit to mum at work for a hug (and to grab $50 off her), I head to the local cemetery with a birthday card in hand. A short visit only due to being late, I hit the road again and head to Seymour. Rain tumbles down occasionally, but it’s an enjoyable drive, especially with my favourite music, mostly comprised of Macklemore, M83 and Calvin Harris, blaring. Thanks to the new Nagambie bypass, I cut 10 minutes off my trip, and arrive in Seymour with 15 minutes to spare. Two trips of the train station carpark doesn’t end in fruition, so I am forced to park outside of somebody’s house in a side street. I hope it is still there when I return.

Arriving over an hour early to the game, I initially thought I would be able to navigate my way to the stadium fairly easily and find a good seat. However, there are people everywhere, and I have to remind myself that we are playing Richmond, and not an interstate side, games where the queue for the toilet is non-existent. Getting in with my membership means I am restricted to level three seating, however I have a cunning plan to find a spot at ground view. However, my masterful plan is not put into action, as I find an opening to an aisle not guarded by one of the ground attendants. I find a seat, a few rows from the fence, just next to the North cheersquad. Perfect. Now I just hope someone doesn’t come along and tell me to get out of their seat.

The game starts, and it is a stalemate early. The intensity is huge, and no easy possession is taken. Robbie Tarrant kicks the first goal of the match, but the Tigers respond, with 100-gamer Jake King and young gun Brandon Ellis combining for a great goal. Ryan Bastinac stands up to kick two in a row, with his second coming from an inch out after Brent Harvey soccered it to the goalsquare. Known as frequent fast starters, North end the quarter with three majors to two, which has me worried.

The fast start seemed to be somewhat delayed, as the Roos came out and played blistering footy in the second quarter, the best I’ve seen from them for some time. The future of the forward line, Tarrant and the impressive Aaron Black, combine to thwart the Richmond defence. Tarrant owns the forward line, while Black works tirelessly to give space for his teammates. Jack Ziebell goals on the left after finding a path through traffic, and Black finds himself the only man standing 10m from goal with the ball in his vicinity. He grabs it, runs in and slams it into the top deck. Black and Tarrant kick five goals between them in the 30 minute period, and Richmond are on the ropes, 53 points behind.

One disadvantage of going to the footy alone is that when I had to go relieve myself, I lost my seat, and had no chance of getting it back. I decide to do a full circle of the stadium, and stand with a bunch of old, beer-drinking North supporters, all who have one thing on their mind. The joys of being a North Melbourne supporter include being incredibly nervous and fraught with worry even when nine goals ahead. Our third quarters in 2013 has seen us concede 11.4 to Sydney and 7.4 to Geelong, among other high totals. Richmond come out strongly, but kick 1.3 before North can deflate their hopes with the next three goals, and I know we are safe. Aaron Mullett slots a goal on the run from 50m, Black snaps an ambitious ball around the body from the boundary that seemed to have a homing device on it for the goals, and we lead by 10 goals with a quarter to play.

Boomer provides a highlight with a three-bounce run into an open goal, and how much he is valued among supporters is evident in the excitement he gives to the supporters at the ground. When he gets the ball, onlookers follow closely, and cheer louder. I believe this should be his last year, with a possible specialist substitute role in 2014. Jack Riewoldt, the man with the biggest bottom lip in the league, kicks two late ones to make his performance look slightly better, but all viewers of the match would know he was awful, along with many of his teammates, while North’s midfield brigade worked harder to provide options, the forward line was effective, and in defence, no one put a foot wrong, in particular Lachie Hansen, who has stamped himself as one of the best intercept markers in the game. Taylor Hine kept Brett Deledio quiet, and when that happens, Richmond face an uphill battle.

The siren sounds, and we have won by 62 points. Richmond supporters are quiet, and head for the exit, while blue and white scarves are flying, and Join in the Chorus is sung with gusto. You can’t beat that.

North Melbourne 3.3 11.6 15.8 19.14 (128)
Richmond 2.2 2.7 4.15 8.18 (66)

North Melbourne: Tarrant 4, Black 3, Harvey, Bastinac, Mullett, Ziebell 2, Greenwood, Petrie, Gibson, Cunnington
Richmond: White, Morris, Riewoldt 2, Ellis, Jackson

North Melbourne: Hansen, Ziebell, Hine, Harvey, Adams, Tarrant, Thompson, Black, Bastinac, Mullett, Greenwood, Grima, Swallow

Richmond: White, Foley, Cotchin, Martin

Umpires: Donlon, Bannister, Margetts

Official crowd: 45,966

Our Votes: 3 Hansen (NM) 2 Ziebell (NM) 1 Hine (NM)

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. Andrew Starkie says

    Josh, a bright day during a bleak year for the Roos. Give my best to your folks.

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