AFL Round 19 – North Melbourne v Geelong: Patience, patience my son…..

Score a footy and Cats gear

Score a footy and Cats gear

On the 2nd of August 2013 it was exactly a year since my son Jack entered planet Earth.  And as my wife and I celebrated his 1st birthday this weekend we reflected how right from the start Jack has taught me to become a more patient person

The first Geelong game Jack and I watched together was less than 24 hours after he was born on the 3rd of August 2012.  It was possibly the best non-flag winning game of recent years, aka the Tom Hawkins after-the-siren 60 metre goal victory against Hawthorn, the one where the tomahawk and the team went crazy afterwards. At the time I only went crazy internally,  ‘screaming silently’ as I was watching the match in the hospital on a little telly with a sleeping new born son and a knackered mum.  Right from the start I learnt that parenthood would come not only with emotional, financial and physical responsibilities but I would additionally need to become a more patient, calmer person.

For the past year my levels of patience have developed further and been required on numerous occasions.  So it seemed apt that on Jack’s birthday these attributes would be called upon again.

As Jack ate his ‘birthday fried rice’, he, his mum and I settled in to watch this important Friday night clash against the Roos.  The same Roos whose fans have (coincidentally) required gigantic levels of patience just to get through the season.  OK the catters had recently suffered a couple of heartbreaking losses against Brisbane and the Crows but North Melbourne had practically perfected the art of losing tragically in 2013, including against us in round 2 when we stole the game like blue and white hooped  “cat” burglars (as you can see I’m not only becoming more patient but I’m developing my dad jokes as well).

This round 19 clash started off with a disregard for patience and was frenetic from the outset. As Steven Motlop classily slotted through Geelong’s third, giving us a 10 point lead, a tiring Jack was given appropriate kisses, cuddles and wishes for great dreams. Mum and Dad then sat down with a nice McLaren Vale Shingleback Shiraz to enjoy the rest of the game.   It all seemed too easy going though and from herein things changed both at Etihad and on our couch –  the Roos steadily  worked their way into and took control of the game.  Daniel Wells slotting through two goals far too easily, Todd Goldstein directing the ball like a 200cm conductor of leather.

The 2nd quarter showed how calm North seemed to be playing.  Even after last year’s hero Tomahawk and OK Vardy let’s go party put the cats up early in the 2nd, the Roos responded as you expect quality and patient teams to do.  Wells was brilliant (surely this man is one of the most underrated players going around?) and  boomer Harvey was simply outstanding and ubiquitous on the park…..was anyone actually on him?  When Boomer handballed it to Drew Petrie  to score a rousing goal North was 20 points up.  I was calm myself but was starting to question why weren’t we manning up, or even trying to get the ball ourselves – were we frightened to dirty our snazzy looking away jumpers?

As the second half began Stacey and I were still confident – surely it was obvious that we would come back, overrun the Roos and the game would follow the round 2 script?  But even though Mitch Duncan got the first of the quarter there was constantly a sense that the whole Geelong Football Club (players and possibly fans alike) were working on similar assumptions and just expecting things to happen.  Wells goaled a 4th, Taylor Hunt  unsuccessfully did his best to annoy the (completely) patient and seemingly relaxed Harvey and the Cats vaguely sniffed around for yet another comeback. Although the Cats got back to within 2 points the  Cats’ sniff had no source – more accurately the sniff was a façade, simply a footy mirage wafting around Etihad Stadium.

The Roos bounded away in the 4th  quarter, with Thomas and Bastinac snapping true whilst Blicavs and Kelly whittled away chances.  As a new bottle of red was opened we still believed but whilst the red was a Mojo Shiraz, the only Mojo belonged to the Shinboners and in particular Harvey.

As ‘join in the chorus etc’ rung around Etihad and Channel 7 gushed about the Roos I begrudgingly acknowledged that North couldn’t be denied.  After all their loyal fans have been patient all season and deserved the win.   But after 2 disappointing losses in 3 weeks, as a Cats fan I am beginning to think that I might lose mine. But will I?  Deep down I knew whilst shuffling off to bed that in the morning cuddles with my beautiful boy Jack would top me up with a whole new tank of perspective and patience yet again.

NORTH MELBOURNE 4.3  10.4  12.5  15.6 (96)

GEELONG       3.1  7.2  11.3  13.8 (86)

Goals: North Melb: D Wells 4 R Bastinac 3 L Adams 2 A Mullett B Jacobs D Petrie J Ziebell L Hansen L Thomas. Geelong: S Motlop 3 M Duncan 2 N Vardy 2 B Smedts H Taylor M Stokes S Johnson T Hawkins T Varcoe.

Best: North Melb: B Harvey D Wells T Goldstein L Hansen S Thompson A Mullett J Ziebell S Atley. Geelong: S Motlop S Johnson J Bartel C Enright M Duncan J Selwood M Stokes.

Umpires: Matt Stevic, Stephen McBurney, Jeff Dalgleish.

Venue: Etihad Stadium

Crowd: 33,584


Almanackers’ Votes:

3 Brent Harvey  (NM)

2 Daniel Wells (NM)

1 Steven Motlop (G)

About Dan Crane

Hi , I'm Dan. I'm a Geelong, Liverpool, Sturt and Celtic FC fan with soft spots for Richmond, Chester and Leicester FC's as well. I'm an Geography, History & English teacher who adores sport but whatever you do, don't ever start me on music....


  1. Andrew Starkie says

    Well summed up, Dane. Yep, tough year for Roos. Cats have struggled to play four quarters which may well bring you undone in September. Good luck with parenthood, I know hoe that feels, too.

  2. Can someone please explain to me why the Roos aren’t in the 8? And probably the top part of the 8?.

  3. It’s a great mystery dips. North tick all the boxes – pace, great key position players, blend of experience. This year the Roos remind me of Geelong in 1993. We were brilliant that season, from memory we had a fast finish to the year but just came up short. For your sake I hope you sneak in – this week is pivotal.

  4. Good report Dan. I was at the game and from a Geelong perspective it didn’t look good. North looked sharp, fit, motivated and well-coached on the night. The Cats looked anything but and in my opinion should have lost by a greater margin.

    Time to bring in some keener, younger blokes from the seconds I reckon, Christensen and Horlin-Smith for starters, along with the older Podsiadly and, hopefully, Chappy. No problems finding several to drop. Just look for a few whose first names start with a ‘T’.

    My dad’s name was Jack. Not sure if he taught me patience but he was most sympathetic when the Cats lost all those finals and Grand Finals in the 80’s and 90’s. Not bad from a Carlton supporter. I reckon Jack’s a good name for good blokes.

  5. Dips,

    A) because they have played dumb footy under pressure.
    B) because they have a hole in the list with not enough 24-28 year old players at their peak who instinctively do the right things under pressure.
    C) because even given A) and B), they’ve been desperately unlucky at least a couple of times: balls standing up on their end instead of going over the boundary, expertly-drawn frees by Brownlow and Norm Smith medallists, missing open shots at goal.
    D) all of the above.

  6. Skip of Skipton says

    Geelong are bored. Hawthorn are bored. I’m sure the second half of the season becomes a drag when you know you will be a top 4 finalist by round 10.

    Not only boredom to contend with, but also-rans firing up to beat you aswell. The finals can’t come quick enough, yet there are still 4 rounds to play. Yawn.

    I don’t care where in the top 4 the Cats finish, because after last year’s debacle in the first round of finals against Freo, they will be out to atone.

  7. Skip – I hope we don’t get too bored! We need to win the next couple to ensure we are in the top 4! And Burkie I’m hoping Jack continues to be a good bloke, he’s been pretty good the first 12 months. ;)

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