AFL Round 9 – North Melbourne v Adelaide: Smokie’s Elbow (with apologies to Litza)

Ok. Let me take a deep breath and try to regain the composure I lost just prior to (throwing up / calling Brad Scott every name under the sun / hurling the remote at the screen)[i]. It is proving difficult.

North have just (lost / thrown away / bent over and said to their opponents…)[ii] another game in which they enjoyed a handsome margin. I am gutted. And (haranguing all on sundry on twitter / quaffing a bottle of Pepperjack / watching Brad Scott’s press conference for any signs of a mea culpa)[iii] is not soothing me in the slightest. I have not been so angry with North since (Lachlan Hansen was selected four places before Joel Selwood in the 2006 draft / Lachlan Hansen allowed Nic Naitanui a free run at the ball in the last seconds of the game in Perth on Friday May 17, 2013)[iv].

The upshot is that North are (just not good enough / too soft / poorly coached / letting everyone make too many excuses for them / losing games as predictably as the ALP will lose seats in September)[v]. We were six goals up against Geelong at half time in Round 2 and managed to allow the Cats to storm back into the match. I could accept that loss, because the Cats are (all class / “probable premiers” / doing that to every team)[vi]. But the three-point defeat by Hawthorn in Round 5 was harder to take because (Sam Wright could have iced the game when he ran into an open goal / I hate Hawthorn / a pattern was forming)[vii]. Then came the much-publicised loss to West Coast in Round 8. To lose by two points – after the siren – was heartbreaking. I’ll admit it was a gallant effort, but in truth North were lucky to be that close given the Eagles’ profligacy in front of goal. Even though we should have won it, if not for (Adam Selwood’s knee-buckling and head-ducking / Lachlan Hansen’s generosity toward Nic Naitanui / Sam Wright’s failure to ice the game from a set shot)[viii].

I am (tired / pissed off / decidedly non-plussed with Brad Scott’s touchy-feely, mealy-mouthed crap)[ix]. I want more toughness. I want more ticker. I want a team that will show a little more pride in the blue and white jumper and will fight harder to win games. The Kangaroos players should be ( ashamed / hurting / contemplating their end-season-trip to Vegas)[x] now that they are 3-6 and the season is effectively over. And this time it is the coach who has a few questions to ask of himself:

# why didn’t I push more players into the backline hole in the final two minutes?

# why isn’t my message getting through, given all the time we have spent going over the previous close losses?

# why did I pick Sam Wright, then use him as a sub only to play him up forward (where it is proven he cannot contribute)?

# why do I keep playing Majak when he has been subbed off as a non-contributor in every game he has played bar one?

Take a long look in the mirror, North Melbourne. Inexperience has not been an excuse for a while now. We supporters cannot accept that line forever. (Ineptitude / Poiselessness / A lack of leadership)[xi] is where you should be looking. And just like Dorian Gray, when he peered into that painting, I am tipping you will not like what you see.

[i] All applicable, but the remote was already ruined last week

[ii] All applicable

[iii] That Pepperjack is a really good drop

[iv] I kept thinking that J Selwood may have made just a little difference in the clinches

[v] Actually, given a choice between North and the ALP, give me a team that is not riven by factions and sticks to their beliefs when the pressure is applied

[vi] Probable premiers? I cannot believe I have channelled Dean Laidley whom, by the way, is making Brad Scott look like an amateur at present

[vii] All applicable, but my antipathy toward Sam Wright grows stronger every week

[viii] Footnotes are really Litza’s thing, not mine

[ix] All applicable

[x] Maybe an end-of-season trip to Utah is in order, given that the pre-season trip is not having any effect

[xi] Any other adjective which Robbo can invent while blustering away on AFL360 will suffice also


About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Great rant, Smokie, although I admire your restraint. If Carlton had the year North has, The Elbow would be Dostoyevsky-esque, with footnotes running into the hundreds.

    Clearly nobody at North bothered to watch the last 30 seconds of the tape of the West Coast game…

  2. Don’t jump Smokie, don’t jump.
    Hard to know what to say to a man on the ledge. Your Kangas currently challenge all of the established norms of footy. They dazzle where previously Kangas were dour and desperate.
    Teams normally reflect their coaches and Brad Scott seems the hard nut like Malthouse, Sheedy, Parkin etal – but he coaches like Malcolm Blight (my hero). He seems to ape the game style of older twin Chris but without the inherited skill and flamboyance that the Cats afford.
    While repeated close losses may have recently injected a psychological tightening (a la Greg Norman), I think the core issue is that Brad has you playing a flat out/up tempo game style that you are not yet capable of sustaining for 4 quarters.
    It is a coaching weakness that he has no Plan B – but Plan A will be a ripper for you once your bodies can sustain it.
    Keep the faith. You are not mining pyrites like the Tigers.

  3. I am starting to detect the emergence of a School. Could be called The Olecranon Process. We have Carlton and North covered. Phil Dimitriadis is an obvious recruit.

    Wonderfully entertaining Smokie. I could almost taste the red.

  4. Smokie – I fell asleep in front of the TV with the Roos 20-odd points up. I woke up when Patrenko was running into the open goal to win the game. I found myself yelling “ohhhhh nnnoooooo” at the TV.

    I like Brad Scott but surely he could have blocked up your defence. On the flip side perhaps he is teaching the team to win games, not simply protect games.

  5. Top rant Smokie. U take no prisioners. Cruel result for your roos.

  6. Lord Bogan says

    Harmsy, my olecranons are worn out…and so are my elbows.

    Why do we do this to ourselves Smokie?

  7. Litza: I could have gone on and on, but I ran out of Pepperjack.
    Peter B: It’s only a game, isn’t it?
    JTH: I must admit, I really didn’t savour the red.
    Dips/T-Bone: the worst thing was that, just like the previous week, I could foresee the whole thing unfolding before me.

  8. Phil: Maybe, just maybe, if and when it finally arrives, this process makes the savouring of success all the more sweet.

  9. Nice piece of writing.
    North have a multitude of issues.
    a) Can’t defend.
    b) No team leaders since Glenn Archer retired / left the defence.
    c) Full of tough guys who panic when their opponents charge back at them.
    d) Run ahead of the ball even when the tide’s going the other way.
    e) Team ethic extends to helping teammates in the good time, but only worrying about their own arse in the bad.
    Other than that, they’re killing it.

  10. Rick Kane says

    You hate Hawthorn? WTF – that hurt but not nearly as much as your rant had me sides split from laughing, which hurt but in a good way.

    You can rip Scott a new one if you like but methinks the blame lies out on the field. I couldn’t believe Roos players kept kicking to packs as the time ticked down. Surely the imperative was to play keepings offs.

  11. Dips, if Scott is teaching them to win games, he’s not doing a very good job!

  12. Andrew Starkie says

    wha, what happened?

  13. I think North are challenging the Tiges for top ranking of ‘good material’.

  14. Dene Macleod says

    Oh Smokie! As we finished up on the 18th at The Sands in Torquay, the AFL App on my iPhone said the Roos were home. This was good, as our multi was still alive (although the Rabbitoahs would’ve seen that down the toilet). Minutes later when we caught the game on the big screen in the clubhouse over our first beer they were still home, and we laughed at the commentators saying there’s still time for Adelaide. And when Petrie got that free kick with 40-odd seconds left, surely you would not lose from there. When the siren went my thoughts turned immedietly to you and other hardcore Roos supporters like Plugger, JT and Ben & Sam Hedditch. And to one of my favourite memes: “Looks like it’s fuck this shit o’clock.”

    Nice elbow.

  15. Smokie – you’ll love this. I went to pick up Kate’s new glasses yesterday. The very friendly and cute young lass in the shop was talking footy. Who do you support? I asked. North, she said triumphantly. Really happy with the weekend, she continued.

    But you lost, I said.

    What? Lost?

    Yes, I said. Five goals up in the last and you lost.

    Oh, she said. When we were five goals up I turned it off assuming we’d win.I had to go out. I suppose that makes me a pretty bad supporter then?

    No, I said, it makes you a really smart one.

  16. Luke Reynolds says

    Great work Smokie. Feeling sorry for the North writers here but enjoying reading their reports.

  17. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Interesting article and it’s ironic during the year how I thought North could really do with
    Nathan Bassett as a defensive coach which looked like happening would have been interesting how , Scott with his over the top attacking style would have combined with
    Bassetts natural defensive style would have made for a interesting coaching box
    I think Peter B is spot on tries to coach like his brother bu hasn’t got quite as good cattle
    Leadership is a interesting .1 as they are not the only club needing improvement in that regard mind you I think every club would find it hard to replace , Archer arguably the best in that role . what we must all remember I that , North had th hardest draw in the comp in , 2012 and this year have finally been given a decent draw this the resulting confidence an surely some tweaking of the game style should result in North being the biggest improvers in , 2014

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