North v Freo preview



I’m thrilled to be writing my second blog of the year for Footy Alamanac, after previously writing just before Round 2.


It has been a year of ups and downs for both Fremantle and North Melbourne. The boys in Purple started strongly but have slipped as the season goes on; in their defence, they have had an horrific injury list all season, and have missed some key players at different times. The Roos won just twice in the first ten rounds, and have been playing catch-up ever since. Wins over Essendon and the Western Bulldogs have probably been their best results; they have not been able to step up against the Top 6 clubs for a win, yet still find themselves in slim finals contention.


This Saturday they meet at Etihad and both sides are desperately in need of a win. The Dockers sit in ninth spot at the moment and have to host premiers-in-waiting Collingwood next week. For the Roos, it is a must-win too; their superior percentage means that a win will lift them to 9th, knocking right on Sydney’s door, and with a further two games to come at Etihad, they know that their destiny is now in their own hands.


Teams have struggled at times coming off the bye this season, but as the season has progressed, have become better at managing the fortnight break. Matt Campbell and Scott McMahon had close to their career-best games in the gallant loss to Hawthorn in Tasmania, and the Roos will need them to continue on the same path. Debutant Aaron Mullett comes in after some great performances at VFL level, and big Hamish McIntosh is a chance to come back and support the excellent Todd Goldstein.


Daniel Wells is in career-best form and has a knack of great performances against the Dockers, so the Roos will be looking for him to snap up plenty of the ball and hopefully crack a couple through the big sticks. If his previous efforts against the Dockers are anything to go by, they may well prove to be special goals; there was a beauty against the Dockers at Subiaco earlier this season, and who could forgot THAT ‘Jackie-Chan-esque’ goal back in 2004 at the same venue – it was the talk of the club for a little while after that! Wellsy is from Perth, and has a knack of stepping up against his home-state opponents.


Veteran Antoni Grover becomes the fifth Docker to reach 200 games on Saturday, and will no doubt put in his usual reliable shift. The likes of Barlow, Ballantyne, Sandilands and Fyfe are all big game players as well, and will be dangerous.


I had a good winning record against the Dockers, but only once managed to break through for a big bag. I kicked 5 back in 2001 in an 86 point-drubbing of the Dockers at Docklands. Last year the teams met twice, and both teams had very comfortable 9-10 goal victories at home. Earlier this year, the Dockers got up by 5 goals in the west, so it might be time for North to even the score.


After the re-signing of both Brad Scott and ‘Boomer’ Harvey, North should go into the game with their confidence high, and I think that they will probably edge out the Dockers.  I don’t think that it will be a blowout by any stretch of the imagination, but with the roof looking likely to be open and a mild Spring-like evening forecast, we could well see a high scoring, free-flowing, end to end game. It’s going to be like a final in terms of the way the teams play, the importance the fans place on it and the impact it will have on both sides finishing position; an absolute cracker, with North to just edge out the boys in Purple.










Corey McKernan played at the highest level of AFL for over a decade and was part of the North Melbourne Premiership teams in 1996 and 1999. Individually Corey won the AFLPA MVP Award in 1996 and also tied for the Brownlow that same year but was ineligible due to suspension. He is a former All Australian, Best and Fairest winner and leading goal kicker. Corey finished his career on 237 matches.


Corey McKernan proves that there is a life after professional sport for Australian athletes. Since retiring in 2005, he developed his strong passion for sport into his dream job with the creation of Corey McKernan Ultimate Events. Corey McKernan Ultimate Events have hosted international tours to events such as the Super Bowl, US Masters, The Ashes and FA Cup.


Corey McKernan Ultimate Events also offer Grand Final Packages featuring events such as the North Melbourne Grand Final Breakfast, the CMUE Grand Final Eve Lunch at Etihad Stadium, an intimate dinner hosted by Wayne Carey and Glen Jakovich and Grand Final tickets. For more information, visit


















About Corey McKernan

Corey McKernan, former AFL footballer of the North Melbourne Kangaroos and Carlton Blues, has established himself as a successful entrepreneur. Corey proved to the public that there is a life after sport for Australian athletes. Athletes have a strong emotional attachment to their sport which has developed over years of building an identity linked to their success on the field, so upon retirement, many athletes can feel a sense of loss if appropriate planning has not occurred prior to retirement. Since retiring from the Kangaroos in 2005, Corey McKernan has developed his strong passion for sport into his dream job by establishing his events company, Corey McKernan Ultimate Events. The philosophy is simple; to deliver value for money experiences within the sporting/entertainment arena, providing clients with privileged access and attention to detail never thought possible. ‘My planning for life after football started whilst I was playing as I had great role models who were past footballers, like Steve Wallis and Craig Kelly. I wanted to do something I really enjoyed and I knew that my long-term vision was to work on the biggest events in Australia and around the world. Many lessons from football still apply on a daily basis; hard work, passion, belief and structure. If athletes can apply the same discipline post retirement that they were taught within their sporting careers then it can provide a much greater chance of success in whatever you choose to do after retirement’ said Corey McKernan. Corey McKernan played at the highest level of AFL for over a decade. McKernan was part of the Premiership teams in 1996 and 1999 that saw the Kangaroos as ‘the team’ of the 90’s. Individually Corey won AFLPA MVP Award in 1996 voted by the players and also tied for the Brownlow that same year but was ineligible due to suspension. During his brief stint at Carlton he won the club’s best and fairest award in 2002.

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