Dogs sneak home by Josh Barnstable

I am excited about this match. The Doggies haven’t beaten North Melbourne since 2005, North having won the last five games. What would normally have been just a normal encounter between these two teams, it was given some extra meaning with the game becoming the “Victorian Services Appreciation Match”, acknowledging the work the Victorian Emergency Services did during the Bushfires earlier in the year.

The rain starts to fall on cue as the siren sounds to begin the match. The Roos work it out of the midfield to Drew Petrie who lines up for the first score of the match. This brings back memories of when I attended the North Melbourne v Bulldogs game in 2007; Glenn Archer’s 300th match. Petrie kicked six goals in the first quarter, ending the match with 7. I hoped for a similar game like that today. His kick was off-line but marked brilliantly by Lindsay Thomas. He missed, this was followed by some more misses. The Roos were out to 0.5 while the Dogs had kicked the first three goals through two goals to Brad Johnson and a ripper goal from Daniel Giansiracusa while running along the boundary line. The Roos snagged their first goal through former-skipper Adam Simpson after he marked a wobbly kick from Andrew Swallow just before quarter time. The Doggies led by 13 points at the first break, 3.6 to 1.5.

The second quarter got underway and the Roos opened up with a goal to Matthew Campbell before Johnson ran into an open goal on a tough angle to extend the lead out once more. Daniel Wells kicked a good goal to end the half after he toe-poked the ball just outside the goalsquare and it rolled through to reduce the margin to 10 points at half time, 3.6 to 4.10. Simpson was playing a magnificent game: he had collected 18 possessions while Leigh Harding and youngster Scott Thompson had 11 disposals for North Melbourne. For the Doggies, Matthew Boyd had collected 15 touches while Ryan Griffen and Ryan Hargrave had 14 disposals.

The second half began and the Dogs extended the margin to beyond 20 points with goals to Will Minson from the goalsquare after a clever knock-on from Shaun Higgins and Dylan Addison snapped a ripper from 45m out while in heavy traffic. The Roos finally replied with Swallow snapping a clever goal from the tip of the goalsquare but consecutive goals to Josh Hill and Griffen saw the margin out to 28 points. The Roos had almost doubled the amount of tackles the Dogs had made though, which is always good. What else was good was that the Roos were coping with the wet weather fine. Wells speared a pass to David Hale which he marked very strongly overhead and kicked the goal which was followed by Lindsay Thomas snapping a goal again with the help of Wells after he handballed over the top of an opponent. The Roos ended the quarter with their 3rd goal in a row through Campbell after Thomas spotted him up with a clever handball to allow Campbell to run into an open goal, the margin had been reduced to 11 points at three quarter time, 7.8 to 8.13. Griffen had a monster third quarter, picking up 11 touches and has 25 for the game while Boyd and Lake have 24 and 20 possessions respectively. For North, Simpson had 22 touches while last week’s heroes, Harding and Hamish McIntosh, had 16 disposals each.

The stage had been set for the final quarter. The Roos had clawed back to be within 11 points. Hill saw that back out to three goals though, after he marked strongly 35m out. The Roos got a lucky goal though. The ball was deep in the Roos’ forward line and it had been spilled out towards the goalsquare. Addison was in the square, alone, but had to watch it move slowly towards the goal line for a rushed behind as he was unable to rush it over himself. In came Ed Lower. He flew in and was able to get his toe to the boot and both Lower and Addison went sprawling to the ground. The margin had been cut to 10 points. This was followed by a good team goal for North. Harvey received the ball from Petrie in the middle of the ground. He saw McIntosh running inside 50 and went with a massive torpedo punt to him. It was spiralling perfectly towards him and McIntosh set himself over the top of Tom Williams. McIntosh was unable to mark it though but Williams gave a free kick away for high contact in the contest. McIntosh went back and drilled the goal and the margin was cut to two points.

I start to get extremely nervous. I am listening to the radio instead of watching the delay on TV. The ball goes back and forth for the next few minutes until it comes to Harvey in the middle of the ground. The skipper gets a handball out to Sam Power who is off. Yes! No. The umpire has payed a free kick against Harvey for throwing the ball. Away go the Dogs to Josh Hill who combines with Jason Akermanis to kick the sealing goal from 15m out. A final goal to Lindsay Gilbee from outside 50 was the icing on the cake for the Doggies, they had prevailed by 15 points in a really gritty match, a match that would have entertained the whole 34,466 at the ground every minute of the game. It even entertained me while the Roos were 28 points down. It even entertained me when the Dogs were out to a 14 point lead with under a minute to go.

Western Bulldogs 3.6—4.10—8.13—11.14.80

North Melbourne 1.5—3.6—7.8—9.11.65

MCG (34,466)


Western Bulldogs-Johnson 3, Hill 3, Giansiracusa, Addison, Gilbee, Griffen, Minson

North Melbourne-Campbell 2, Simpson, Thomas, Wells, Hale, Lower, McIntosh, Swallow


Western Bulldogs-Griffen, Johnson, Hill, Giansiracusa, Boyd, Lake

North Melbourne-Simpson, Harding, Wells, McIntosh, Hansen, Thompson

3 Votes: Ryan Griffen (WBD)

2 Votes: Brad Johnson (WBD)

1 Vote: Adam Simpson (NM)

Joshua Barnstable.

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