AFL Round 8 – West Coast v North Melbourne: Majak and the AFL Hype Machine

By Daniel O’Sullivan

At the press conference two days out from this game, Nic Naitanui was asked six questions about Majak Daw. Six questions. You would think the Bombers copped less of a grilling from ASADA.

But such is life in the AFL Hype Machine. And the Majak Daw show has garnered headlines for the North Melbourne footy club not seen since the days of Glen Archer’s barbecue. There will be no complaints from the Shinboners marketing and membership team. Surely the hardest working team of backs-to-the-wall spruikers since Myki launched.

Of course the whole showdown scenario was all a little unfair on Daw, who is a rookie list hail-mary up against a blue chip talent in NicNat, but reality and common sense serves little purpose in the House of Pain on a Friday night with a bumper free-to-air audience.

The anticipated showdown did occur for one glorious centre bounce when Daw moved into the middle. The crowd buzzed and Daw won the battle with a deft tap. Bruce and Dennis salivated in the broadcast booth, West Coast fans shifted uneasily in their seat, but the world wouldn’t have to wait too long before NicNat would convincingly win the war.

It would be fair to say the natives have been restless since high pre-season expectations turned into a spluttering start. With Woosha in the spotlight and the House of Pain losing its luster, a fourth home loss in the first quarter of the season would mean an entertaining Karl Langdon spray at the very least.

But the Kangaroos had a score to settle following their September capitulation last season, so the home team weren’t going to have it all their own way.

Perennial whipping boy Lachie Hanson took 15 grabs down back for the visitors while Daniel Wells put on a clinic of deft pivots, breathtaking stop-and-props and lightening turn of speed to confirm rumours he spent his 2010 working as an extra in “Black Swan”.

As far as the glory-hunters go, it was lesser-lights in Josh Hill and Aaron Black who kicked important goals in the forward fifty. Todd Goldstein and Darren Glass were important.

But this was always going to be a contest that would defy logic and reason, and when Daw was subbed out, it lead the more simplistic onlookers to believe the door to be ajar for NicNat to claim victory in the showdown that never was.

And so it transpired. With time running down a Freewood (a free kick to any one of the Selwoods) was awarded. The ball was launched long to a pack whereby Nick Naitanui plucked a speccy for the ages and destined this scribe to yet another agonizing defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.

I will leave you with the results of my last three North Melbourne match reports for The Alamanac.

2013 – vs West Coast lost by 2 points (after the siren)

2012 – vs Port Adelaide lost by 2 points (up by 6 goals in the last)

2011 – vs Sydney lost by 1 point (Sydney had 19 men on the field)

Don’t be offended if I leap off the Westgate next time I get an email from John Harms.


West Coast 3.2 4.9 8.14 12.18 (90)

North Melbourne 6.1 7.4 10.6 13.10 (88)

GOALS West Coast: Hill 3, Kennedy 2, Shuey 2, Cox, Naitanui, Darling, LeCras, Maston

North Melbourne: Black 3, Harvey 2, Thomas 2, Cunnington, Ziebell, Wells, Thompson, Swallow, Adams, Wright, Petrie


West Coast: Naitanui, Glass, Hurn, Gaff, Hill

North Melbourne: Wells, Goldstein, Hanson, Black, Cunnington, Harvey

Our Votes: 3 Naitanui (WC) 2 Wells (NM) 1 Harvey (NM)



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