AFL Round 19: At least McNamara was good on debut and Valenti played his best game

By Steve Healy

I think 1.10pm games are all right. They’re not ideal, but they give me more time to come home and do my homework. But I remember the good old days when they were all interstate/Geelong.

I was off to the footy to see the Jurrah-less, Grime-less, Green-less, Jamar-less and still Wonaeamirri-less Dees play. Oh yeah and McLean-less.  Not to forget Watts-less and Warnock-less as well. But I still wanted to see them play. I rushed to my seat I always take at Docklands (don’t want to say Etihad Stadium): Level 3, on the wing, broadcast side, of course. (Because in my book the Lockett End is left and Coventry right.)

The only two people in the stadium were the cleaner and his dog when I arrived. I love the Dome when the roof is open and the sun is shining. And the Rialto towers are in the top right hand corner of your eyes.

An old Melbourne supporter was sitting next to me. His wife was next to him in Hawthorn colours.  He must have known his footy, because he noticed Paul Johnson warming up on the ground before I did. After a while I realised that Jared Rivers was out, hopefully he has not obtained a serious injury, like he had done many times before in his career.

I’m eager to see McNamara and Bail debuting. Melbourne run out, luckily not wearing either of their clash strips. North win the toss and kick to the Lockett End. Sylvia, Morton, Johnson and Dunn head to the bench. The ball is bounced by the umpire.

Not long has gone and the Dees are first on the board, due to a Jetta behind. I’m sad to see Rohan Bail get a kick and then come off. He is never seen again. Newton turns the ball over. The umpires are terrible. Harvey walks in and kicks the first goal of the game. Nathan Jones cleverly walks through the pack and kicks the Dees’ first from the goal line. Corey Jones gets a lucky goal, which he kicked while lying on his back and just getting his toe on the ball. Hansen marks inside 50 and kicks his first. Well I wondered why Bate and Petterd were in defence, Valenti kicked to Newton who kicked a good goal from 50. If only he could do that every time. The umpiring continues to be shocking. But what can you expect from Sully and Pannell? Big Todd Goldstein kicks a goal for the Roos. Davey went for a run, but his kick from 50 hit the inside of the post. I just love how Davey kicks the ball. Martin marks and kicks one straight through the middle. Martin is slowly becoming my favourite player.  I reckon Martin could make a great key forward, rather than ruckman or backman.  The Dees trail by four points at quarter time, 4.1 (25) to 3.3 (21). I’m content with their effort. Harvey had eight touches for the Roos, Firrito and Anthony had seven each. Valenti had a gallant nine touches and Bate and Dunn had seven each.

Melbourne began the second quarter with the ball locked inside their forward 50. If only we could turn it into scoring. The Roos missed a couple of shots on goal. Johnson misses. The game turns in to a comedy of errors. I guess I’m used to seeing that at Melbourne games. The-match-winner-two-years-ago-that-is-Swallow marks inside 50 and goals for North to put the margin out to 10 points. Rawlings marks inside 50 and kicks his second goal for the year. Hansen gets a free against Petterd at full back and kicks his second. WHY IS PETTERD AT FULL BACK? Martin marks inside 50 but misses. At half time its North by 22, 7.5 (47) to 3.7 (25). Valenti has 15 possessions and Dunn 14. Thompson and Power have 13 each for the Roos.

I spent ten minutes out of my seat to get a pie, and return to see what hopefully would be a good half for us.

Daniel Harris, the man who is in of the team and out and then in again, marked at 35 and kicked a goal. Flash Campbell misses. Spencer fumbles and Hansen kicks number three. Petrie snaps a terrific goal for North and they’re on a roll. The non-choker Swallow kicked another to dampen my spirits. Miller kicked the Dees first since the first quarter to break the drought. Goldstein ran in and kicked another; Firrito did the same a little while later. It was raining goals. Jones squeezes one through for the Dees and he has two. The margin is still a big 47 points. Newton marks and kicks his second. A North Melbourne supporter next to me seems to think North Melbourne are playing terribly. Miller misses. Unfair 50 against Davey gifts Goldstein his third goal. The Irish North Melbourne supporter behind me asks who number 44 for Melbourne is, having already asked who number 32 was a few minutes earlier. Stefan “pony kick” Martin kicks his second. From the ball up Josh Gibson gets the clearance- but delivers it into Melbourne’s fifty. Maybe if he saw Warnock and Frawley in there like last week it would have been fair enough but it was a genuine mistake. At three quarter time the Dees trail by 40, 14.8 92 to 7.10 52. It was a great, fast paced and high scoring quarter. 11 goals between the two sides. Thompson leads with 18 possessions for North, Power and Harvey have 17 each. Bate has 22 for the Dees and McDonald has 20.

The last quarter gets underway and Thomas snaps a clever goal. Petrie marks a Thomas kick and kicks his second. Petrie backs it up with another strong mark and another goal. North by 58. Goldstein marks and kicks his fourth from a tight angle. Michael Newton tackles Josh Gibson over the line on the wing. The North Melbourne Irishman behind me taps me on the shoulder again and says “Ey lad, write on yer sheet, ‘Gibson terrible’”. “I already wrote that when he kicked it backwards”, I replied. Spencer fumbles the ball when lining up at goal. He’ll learn. It summed up Melbourne’s day.  Morton kicks a good goal on the run from outside 50. Miller narrowly misses. 1.3 For Miller. He hadn’t played badly though. Goldstein gets paid a mark and kicks his fifth. Good on him, he had only kicked four in his previous twelve games. The siren sounds and the North crowd enjoy their team’s 62-point victory and second most accurate score for the year. 19.9 (123) to 8.13 (61). Power and Harris had 27 touches each for the Roos and Bate and McDonald also had 27 each for Melbourne.

The North Melbourne song blasted through the speakers as I left the ground. At least Tom McNamara played well, with 14 possessions and Valenti played his best game ever. Some good signs for the future in the forward line as well. Bate was good as a marking midfielder.

Oh well, there’s always next week. But the chances of a North Melbourne Irishman sitting behind me again are very slim.

North Melbourne 4.1  7.5  14.8  19.9 (123)
Melbourne 3.3  3.7  7.10  8.13 (61)

North Melbourne: Goldstein 5, Hansen 3, Petrie 3, Swallow 2, Firrito, Harris, Harvey, Jones, Rawlings, Thomas.
Melbourne: Martin 2, Newton 2, Jones 2, Morton, Miller.

North Melbourne: Goldstein, Petrie, Anthony, Thompson, Harvey, Power, Harris.
Melbourne: Bate, Jones, Valenti, McDonald, Sylvia, Martin.

My Votes: 3. Todd Goldstein (NM), 2. Drew Petrie (NM), 1. Liam Anthony (NM).

Umpires: Donlon, Sully, Pannell.

Crowd: 16,594 (c’mon North fans!)

About Steve Healy

Steve Healy is an entity of a Melbourne supporter.


  1. Damian Watson says

    Great piece on a somewhat forgettable game. The Melbourne youngsters are a promising bunch with players like Valenti, Martin, Morton, Bennell, Grimes and Maric and the obvious ones Jurrah and Watts. If you persist with them the Dees will gradually sneak up the ladder.

    I sit on that broadcast wing on Level 3 as well! at least most of the time, on some occasions I’m in the cheer squad.

    Might see you at Blues v Demons match in a couple of weeks time.


  2. Steve Healy says

    Thanks Damo, I’ll definitely see you if your sitting there- because I’ll be there. Should be a good game, Carlton V Melbourne. Melbourne will have a good year next year- because all the supporters will want us to win.

  3. Steve Healy says

    Ps- look for a blonde haired guy with a 2002 Melbourne jumper on, and a membership scarf. I’ll probably be holding a record and a bit of paper. I might be shouting at the umpires as well.

  4. Lol Steve are you naturally Blond??

  5. Steve Healy says

    Yes, I am. What’s so funny?

  6. Nothing :)
    its just a joke between me and my bestfriend. i bag her for being Blonde and she bags me for not having natural Black hair. Lol her come back is always: “well atleast my hair is NATURAL!” and i reply “OHH YEAH,IM SURE IT IS!”
    :) its all a bit of fun.

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