AFL Round 11- Gold Coast v North Melbourne: A tale of divergent moments

Development is inevitable. Unless you’re Melbourne. The Gold Coast Suns were always going to spike off the charts at some stage of their short existence. The raw teenagers they selected in their inaugural draft are becoming promising young players, with shortening moments of concentration lapses. 2013 is the year the Suns said to the other clubs “Hey, we’re here”. ‘Here’ being above the likes of Melbourne, St Kilda and the Bulldogs. And North Melbourne.
I’d like to say that, in wet and greasy conditions, we were safe after the first five goals of the game. But after witnessing Nic Naitanui’s mark, Jimmy Bartel’s goal, Hawthorn’s determined effort, and worst of all, Jared Petrenko’s matchwinner out of mid-air, I knew not to count my chickens before they had hatched. A Lindsay Thomas behind running into the goalsquare had me feeling uneasy.
Our five goals in a row were matched with six of theirs. They controlled the ball well, and if they lost it, it didn’t matter. Trent McKenzie prowled across half back, unmanned, unattended, unrecognised. His cannon of a left foot sent it back over the heads of the North players who were making extreme hard work of their simple task: get it forward. It was typical that the one time we could win a clearance through Ben Cunnington, he kicked it 30 metres the wrong way.
A Sam Gibson goal in the first minute of the final quarter saw the margin at just five points, but getting it forward again seemed like a mountainous task. And it was. The Suns sealed the game thanks to the pure maturation of their youngsters. The inside grunt of Dion Prestia, the sheer presence of Charlie Dixon, the raw talent of Jaeger O’Meara, the stopping ability of Rory Thompson, and the potential of Tom Lynch, all headed by the masterclass of one G. Ablett. A superstar, the best of the current era, and probably every other one.
The development at North is there. But it’s being stunted by an inability to adjust to certain tactics and conditions, as well as one other problem. Look up ‘frail’ in the dictionary, and you’ll see a logo of the North Melbourne Football Club. Yep, the club that was the embodiment of toughness, unrelenting effort and labelled the Shinboners. Brad Scott has flushed it out of the system, and replaced it with potential, maybe’s, and if’s. If we won those four games that we lost by under a goal, we’d be in the top four. Maybe if someone in the team would stand up when everything is going down the gurgler and says “no more, follow me boys”, we’d still be in contention for finals. Potential looks good on paper, but means nothing out on the field. You learn that at Auskick. You have to work to achieve the results you strive for. Gold Coast have learnt this, and as a result, were the better team on the night. They’re future is as bright as the sun.
Gold Coast 0.1 – 5.6 – 7.7 – 9.12.66
North Melbourne 4.2 – 5.2 – 6.2 – 8.3.51
Gold Coast: Lynch 2, Russell 2, Ablett 2, Shaw, Harbrow, Hall
North Melbourne: Black 2, Thomas 2, Petrie 2, Wells, Gibson
Gold Coast: Ablett, McKenzie, Prestia, Harbrow, Russell, Thompson, Brown, O’Meara
North Melbourne: Cunnington, Wells, Black, Grima
My Votes: Gary Ablett (GC) 3, Trent McKenzie (GC) 2, Dion Prestia (GC) 1.

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.

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