AFL Round 7 – Western Bulldogs v North Melbourne: Time-on

Western Bulldogs versus North Melbourne
4.40pm, Saturday, 11 May
Etihad Stadium, Melbourne

The final margin – a 54 point win to North – doesn’t tell the story of this match.

It was an interesting game, one I’ll reflect on often as the season grows older.

The Bulldogs held the ascendancy on a few occasions, most notably when they kicked the first three goals of the second half, the best coming from Murphy when he turned MacMillan inside out and kicked true on the run, putting the Dogs in front.

The Bulldogs scored first in each quarter, even the last, when North went on to rack up nine goals and run away with the result. In fact, the Bulldogs held the lead for a short time in each of the first three quarters.

The difference between the two teams was North’s ability to score heavily in the time-on periods, allowing them to gradually increase their lead. North’s tall forwards were damaging. They’ve found a couple in Daw and Black.

The Bulldogs set the pattern of play early. They went one on one, closed down North’s run and dropped a player behind the play. For reasons I don’t know, Wells was sub for North, while Boomer started in his first game for the year and has lost nothing. An extra long preseason may even add a bonus year on the end of his career.

Gia and Markovic, who started on Majak but was moved forward much to his relief no doubt, kicked two each for the term. North looked lacklustre, perhaps a bit rusty after last week’s tough scrap with Port and took a while to wind up. They didn’t deserve to lead at the break.

Lower was keeping Swallow quiet and Griffen was getting the ball with ease during the second term and again the Bulldogs sought to press home the advantage. But their perennial problem, lack of tall forwards, cost them, as they weren’t able to capitalise and build a lead.

North hung in and two goals to Majak gave them the advantage at half-time.

Murphy was brilliant at the start of the third term. He’s so skilful and smart. You can almost hear him thinking out on the ground. Is it true he’s the son of a Catholic nun and priest? Murphy led from the front, taking his team with him and when my Bulldog mate asked if I was worried halfway through the term, I replied ‘Yep’.

But Ziebell, Cunnington and Gibson kept banging away and Wells came on and offered run. North had that bit of class at crucial times and scored too easily. Suddenly the lead was over 3 goals.

The Bulldogs looked up for the fight early in the last quarter but their wheels wobbled quickly. Effort was great but lack of size up the spine told in the end.

North’s last quarter effort surprised. Rarely do they produce such free flowing, high scoring footy. Goldy loped forward and kicked two; Majak was gifted his sixth; and Atley’s running goal was the highlight.

North finished with 22 goals – their highest total for God knows how long – which is surprising considering they went a couple of lengthy periods without scoring. As I said, it was an interesting game.

Majak and Black look good enough to secure their spots. They excite me, particularly Majak who has brought smiles to the faces of all Northerners since his debut. He gives you reason to go to the footy. Both get involved, want the ball and Majak’s ruck work is a huge bonus. I prefer him to Drew venturing up the field giving Goldy a chop out.

Majak and Black have an influence, as opposed to Tarrant – out injured at the moment – and Hansen who go missing. Curiously, Hansen played at CHB in this match and did well because he was able to run in a straight line. His turning circle is too slow and wide for the forward line. We need a gorilla in defence and he may be it. Tarrant’s injury has come at a bad time. I can’t see a spot for both he and Hansen.

Congrats to the milestone players: Firrito in his 200th and Thompson in his 100th. True Roos.

WESTERN BULLDOGS 4.1 7.3 11.7 15.7 (97)
NORTH MELBOURNE 5.5 8.11 13.14 22.19 (151)

Western Bulldogs: Giansiracusa 4; Markovic 3; Murphy 2; Griffen, Minson, Dahlhaus, Smith, Wallis, Austin.
North Melbourne: Daw 6; Petrie 3; Black, Goldstein, Ziebell, Thomas, Macmillan; Harvey, Sierakowski, Atley.

Western Bulldogs: Griffen, Giansiracusa, Lower, Markovic, Murphy, Dahlhaus.
North Melbourne: Daw, Ziebell, Gibson, Bastinac, Thompson, Atley, Harvey, Cunnington.

Umpires: Donlon, Foot, Mitchell

Official crowd: 23,690 at Etihad Stadium.

Our votes: Daw (NM) 3, Ziebell (NM) 2, Griffen (WB) 1.


  1. Andrew there was a moment early in the third quarter which encapsulated the match for me. Bulldogs half forward line, Jones takes a hanger, quick handball to Murphy, who was under the pump, turnover, North go forward, Majak Daw goals. All over, red rover.

    Just prior to this, the Bullies had just regained the ,lead, and if Jones actions had lead to a goal they would have been 7 points up, but this error saw them 5 points down, and the Roos were on a roll.

    Like many people i am enthralled by Majak Daws’ presence on the AFL stage, with his side still a possibility to feature in September, but for their opponents, it’s going to be a long season.


  2. Let’s celebrate Majak’s first ever Marlarkey votes!!

  3. Peter Fuller says

    I’m sure that I’ve read that Bob Murphy’s parents are indeed respectively a former nun and priest. I stress the word former, no scandal here, they had both apparently left the religious life before marriage and children.

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