North Can Make the GF This Year*

I’m serious.

This is why:


Momentum: North has won four finals in the past two years. They’re building. It’s time for the next step.

Belief: once fragile at North, is now strong.

Experience: one of the oldest and most experienced lists, mainly thanks to Boomer, 37 and Drew, 33. Firrito, Nicky Dal, Waite, Thommo, Lindsay et al also have a lot of games behind them.

Urgency: linked closely to the above. This season is the last chance to win a flag with this list. Equal doses of hunger and desperation usually work well.

Talent and X factor: for so long a club full of honest toilers with a sprinkling of skill limited to a few, North now has a list as talented as most, with serious X factor, which we know is important in grand finals – Stevie J, Aker, Cyril. Goldy and Jack are top shelf; Brown has proven himself in finals; Wells is back; Waite was BOG against the Tigers last September; Jacobs and Garner announced themselves that day; Higgins is a clean finisher.

Competition for spots: again, North has traditionally lacked in this area, but Tarrant, Wright, MacMillan, Atley, have also proven themselves recently, while Tippett, McKenzie, Dumont, McDonald, Turner, Wood and Mullett will push for more senior games. Unlike others, I haven’t given up on Daw. He can be used sparingly, depending on opposition make-up, off the bench and play a roaming ruckman/forward role. There is pressure on established players for places. Firrito and Hansen aren’t guaranteed, while there’s an argument our captain, Swallow, isn’t in the first 18. As the saying goes, your bottom six players win premierships.

The Coach: a cause of frustration for Roo fans, Brad Scott has proven himself in the last two finals campaigns. I may be making too much of this, however he impressed me by leaving out Tarrant against Sydney in last season’s semi. Yes, he had picked up a niggle in the warm-up and Buddy’s absence made the decision a bit easier, but the decision showed poise and maturity. And a Plan B. Scott backs his players, but has hardened up towards them. Importantly, he no longer blames the rain.

Rest of the competition: I don’t think this is going to be a strong year. Hawthorn is obviously the team to beat again (Saty night’s practice match showed this) despite retirements and Roughead’s injury. West Coast should improve with the return of injured players; Freo will be around, but still have problems up the spine; Sydney will be Sydney. The rest aren’t in it. North’s list is very good, not great, but good enough to make a grand final, all going well.

Consistency is the problem. North lacks a killer instinct and week-in-week-out hardness. If they find the secret ingredients in 2016, North can make the big dance. Once you’re there, anything can happen.


*The original title was ‘North Can Win the GF this Year’; I’ve toned it down.


  1. Good luck to the Roos in 2016 Starks. I can’t get them in my top 8 but believe it or not, I’ve been wrong before.

  2. You’re on to something here Andrew. It’s 5 and 6 that have me bullish and nervous at the same time. More X factor for sure, but is it a bit fragile? Can they find a way to get good contributions from those fringe players rotating through the seniors? I’d really like to see different lineups selected depending on structural needs like a tall backline for Adelaide, a more agile one for the Bulldogs, which Brad hasn’t shown much incination to do in the past.

    Thank god it’s finally starting. Go Roos!

  3. Andrew Starkie says

    Dips, I look forward to speaking with you about this GF week.

    Rob, good points; we no longer have passengers; a flexible squad, horses for courses, would be ideal. Love your photo of Cabes.

  4. The People's Elbow says

    Some of the best satire I’ve read on this site…

  5. I think a bit more toning down is required.
    The big dance!
    North are like the hairless roid filled muscle boy at the nightclub.
    They can pull a few dance moves and even string together a couple of handy pick up lines but when it comes to the most important dance at the end of the night, they’re dickless.

    But at least you’re dancing. Us Brisbane boys can’t get in the door.

  6. Andrew Starkie says

    CL: ‘I really can’t see anyone beating us’. MM, March 2014. Or something like that.

    Daly: You never know, by September, North may be in the sand dunes out the back of the Lady Bay Hotel, having their dreams fulfilled.

  7. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Starkers – The ‘experienced’ are a worry. How much more left in the tank for that group? Would making another Prelim be seen as a success or a failure?

  8. Andrew Starkie says

    Philo, i see the older players as a positive. Hunger and desperation, as i said.

    Your lot have had a good summer.

    Yep, catch up over Easter break.

  9. I like your optimism, Starkers.

  10. Rick Kane says

    You’ve gotta be in it or something like that. The Roos toughest opponent is their own self belief. I hope for your sake AS that they can rise above that and take on the game when it matters most. Cheers

  11. Up the spine yourself

Leave a Comment