NAB Cup 2012: North v Bulldogs in Ballarat

Water, water, everywhere. A fitting summation of what has become of the country town of Numurkah, my home town (sort of). In the past, when people would ask where you’re from, they would screw up their face and muse “Numur-what?” Now when we tell them, they know instantly that we’ve been living on an island, and will probably continue to do so for a couple more weeks. So our trip to Ballarat for the NAB Cup match between North Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs was a good excuse to get out of the boundary we’d been confined to due to road closures. A ‘road closed’ sign tried valiantly to stop us on the Goulburn Valley highway, but Dad expertly manoeuvred around it. Goodbye ocean, hello dry land!

Arriving in Ballarat, Dad used his knowledge of visiting the ground about eight years prior to find Eureka Stadium. After 20 minutes, we all conceded defeat. The map was brought out, and the destination was found. Waltzing in as an under 14 year old, I tried not to make eye contact with anyone, and had a small squeaky voice prepared if anyone tried to engage with me. Despite the game being almost an hour away from commencing, the ground was packed. No standing room against the fence at all. Except for an area of about 20m that was completely abandoned, in a construction site of sorts on the half forward flank towards the scoreboard end. Sneaking into a closed, but not locked fence, Dad and I made ourselves comfortable leaning against the fence as we watched the players warm up with shots on goal. With a worrying thought that we’d be approached and asked to move, I wasn’t fully concentrating on the happenings on the ground. Once the first quarter had begun, I started to think that we’d slipped through the cracks and were in for a first-class view of an AFL game. Unfortunately not. A tap on the shoulder and we soon found ourselves about four deep behind the goals. North booted three goals to start the game, two to Liam Anthony, before the Dogs replied through Bendigo boy Tom Campbell, a huge lad off the rookie list. He looks like an imposing and skilled Will Minson. He slotted two majors after some good marks, and at quarter time we were just ahead. A contentious third umpire request was made by the umpire after Ryan Griffen’s low-trajectory snap on goal was seemingly touched by Michael Firrito. Easily behind the goal line before he touched, Griffen was given not-out.

We stayed in front for majority of the second quarter, with both wasting opportunities in front of goal. In the heat, both teams were playing a scrappy brand of footy, but Scott Thompson defied that with a fantastic goal on the run after getting past two Dogs’ defenders. Hamish McIntosh and Aaron Edwards also goaled, while Jordan Roughead toe-poked a miraculous goal up the other end.

The third quarter saw Brent Harvey, Andrew Swallow and Daniel Wells all take the field for the first time, and the gap in class was obvious. North kicked in front with a handy lead after Kieran Harper booted two quick goals, a Matthew Campbell snap from the pocket found the middle and Wells beautifully landed a Supergoal from the forward flank. Leading by 27 at three quarter time, I expected a blow-out to occur in the final quarter.

It didn’t come, with the young Pups showing great fight to get back into the game. Big Campbell (as opposed to Little Campbell of North) booted his third, while Zeph Skinner showed he could become the next Liam Jurrah, hopefully minus off-field complications. Andrew Swallow found the ball in his lap late in the game to seal the victory, and it’s not a game of footy until Lindsay Thomas missed a set shot from 10m out straight in front. A 23 point win for North, but a worrying concern considering we were almost playing the Western Bulldogs reserves’ side. Much improvement needs to come before our crucial Round 1 clash against Essendon. At least Wellsy will be there.

North Melbourne 0.3.4—0.6.8—1.9.13—

Western Bulldogs 0.3.3—0.5.9—0.6.13—


North Melbourne-Wells (SG), Anthony 2, Harper 2, Atley, Thompson, Edwards, Campbell, McIntosh, Swallow, Adams

Western Bulldogs-Campbell 3, Skinner 2, Griffen 2, Roughead, Hill

About Josh Barnstable

21 year old North Melbourne supporter from country Victoria. Currently living in Melbourne studying a Bachelor of Sports Media. Dreams of becoming a sports journalist and broadcaster.


  1. pamela sherpa says

    I’ve been thinking about you and wondering how your property fared during the floods Josh. Great to hear that you have your head above water and glad you got out to the footy .No doubt there’ll be a lot of work cleaning up and recovering after the water recedes in the area.

  2. John Butler says

    Josh, a pretty fair summation.

    It was very much a practice game. Both sides would hope to have a fair bit up their sleeves.

    Given some of the chaos at the front gate, I reckon I was a chance to have got in as an U15 if it had occurred to me. :)

  3. Andrew Walker says

    Sorry..mistake in email address. This one is correct.

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