AFL Round 9 – North Melbourne v Adelaide: The Heartbreaker – games lost by less than a goal

A couple of Sundays ago I’d just come home from a light jog down at the local estuary. It was an unusually warm day for Autumn so I thought I would quench my thirst and reward myself with a tall glass of Milo… or so I thought.

What was supposed to be a relaxing and joyful experience, turned disappointing and painful in an instant. Thought my sheer greed and arrogance I had overdone the Milo to milk ratio. A common, but rookie mistake.

I inhaled a malty dust that left me coughing and spluttering for many minutes after. I was heartbroken. Pure and simple.

It is in this way I feel I can (somewhat) relate to my North Melbourne Football Club supporters…


Yes, for the 4th time this year North Melbourne have cracked under the pressure to lose yet another vital game by under 6 points. To their fighting credit those games lost were against very skillful and experienced line-ups, but unfortunately there are no points given for ‘coming-close’.


Round 1 Lost to Collingwood after leading by 10 points in the 2nd quarter
Round 2 Lost to Geelong after leading by 41 points in the 2nd quarter
Round 3 Lost to Sydney after leading by 20 points in the 2nd quarter
Round 5 Lost to Hawthorn after leading by 9 points in the 4th quarter 9 minutes gone
Round 8 Lost to West Coast after leading by 15 points with 7 minutes remaining and by 4 points after the final siren
Round 9 Lost to Adelaide after leading by 30 points with 15 minutes remaining and by 5 points with 16 seconds remaining


The Kangaroos 2013 campaign has continued to morph into their worst nightmare last weekend as they crumbled yet again to lose by 1 point against Adelaide at Etihad Stadium.

Even though Kangaroos were the first team to reach 100 points, they still lost the match. (Note: There will be a graph on that in the coming weeks, I am still compiling the data!)

Bruce Kennedy from FootyStats noted that this run of close losses has moved to 4 in season 2013, only 1 shy of Fitzroy’s performance of 5 in 1978. I have yet to find any other season that trumps this unlucky record of near wins…
See the graph below for details!



In the Friday Night Blockbuster of Round 9, saw Sydney reclaim their reverence as reigning premiers after defeating Collingwood at the MCG by 47 points. After a first quarter tussle, the Swans never looked back, breaking their 13 season-long hoodoo defeating Collingwood at the MCG for the first time since round 19, 2000 – when Michael O’Loughlin kicked 6 goals and Troy Luff was named best. The Magpie’s 2nd quarter was their first of the season to remain goalless. And the bumper crowd of 65,306 was the biggest MCG attendance between these two clubs. The MCG still remains a somewhat difficult ground for Sydney, as it was only their 2nd win (the other being the 2012 Grand Final) in the previous 12 matches held at the venue. Unfortunately a racial incident involving a 13 year old Collingwood supporter and Adam Goodes has marred the result of the game.


In the Saturday twilight game held at Etihad Stadium, The Western Bulldogs finally found some sort of salvation after the club had come under attack from the media for their recent poor performances. The Doggys overcame St Kilda in the final quarter to run out 9 point victors. It was only the club’s 2nd win in their previous 20 matches (the other being Round 1, 2013 against Brisbane at Etihad), and it was also the break in their 8 match losing streak against opponent St Kilda. The aftermath leaves the Saints 15th on the ladder and Bulldogs, 16th, with both teams sitting on 2 wins from 9 rounds. As Rogers Results pointed out both teams have experience major drops in form since 2008.

2008-2010 2011 – 2013
WB 63.33% win 30.19% win
STK 71.05% win 49.07% win


As Round 9 was promoted as “Indigenous Round“, the modern-day ‘tradition’, “Dreamtime at the G” game was played out between Richmond and Essendon. After an even opening quarter, Essendon ran away with the match, beating the Tigers by a comfortable 29 points. Essendon’s final score of 13.13.91 is incidentally the phone number to Pioneer Mortgage Services, which is located literally a couple of doors down from HyperMED hyperbaric chambers run by Dr Mal Hooper, where Essendon players reportedly spent over $50,000, and is involved in the performance enhancing drugs scandal at the club!

Anyway, their score of 91 was their lowest winning margin against Richmond since Round 17 2002. Essendon now leads the Tigers 5-4 in their run of Dreamtime games.

This week’s Round 9 Footy Graph charts the run of ‘unlucky’ losses by less than a goal by the 1978 Fitzroy Football Club and the 1926 and 2013 North Melbourne team.


North Unlucky Run

So join in the chorus and sing it one and all,
Join in the chorus, North Melbourne’s dropped the ball!
Good old North Melbourne, they’re choking you’ll agree,
North Melbourne’ll lose the winning lead, just you wait and see!




About Jake "Cobba" Stevens

Cobba Stevens works in sports social media and content. A keen middle-distance runner in both the ammos and the pros, he's also one of the youngest 'old bloods' supporters in Melbourne.


  1. G’day Cobba. Just to add an alternative factor; when we cast our minds back to 1978 i recall, and i haven’t checked it up , so hopefully the memory is still switched on, that Fitzroy beat Hawthorn twice, with the margin being a solitary point on both occasions. Thus Hawthorn , who won the flag in 1978, could not register a victory over Fitzroy that season.


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