Round 11 – North Melbourne v Richmond: Opposite Directions

North Melbourne versus Richmond

7.50pm, Friday 3 June

Blundstone Arena, Hobart

 

Dave the Fruiterer is a glass half full sort of guy.

 

‘Mate, we could’ve lost by ten goals!’ he says when I walk into his Preston Market store, carrying the same long face I have since last week’s loss to Sydney.

 

‘We had so many players down, mate – Jack, Boomer, Drew, Waite, Brown…. If we’d kicked straight….We’ll get ‘em next time,’ he continues as I load up on mandarins.

 

‘I know, I know,’ I reply feeling instantly chastised. ‘You’re right, you’re right. But, what about tonight? I’m worried. Tigers on a roll. Goldy won’t play. Coach is crook.’

 

‘Relax mate, we’ll be right. We’re on top for a reason.’

 

We are. Of course we are. He’s right. Of course he is.

 

I skip off to the butchers with perspective restored. Dave is good for me.

 

By the time I take my place in front of the fire, rain on the roof, TV sound down, radio turned up, Tassie beers in the fridge, I’m feeling pretty comfortable about our prospects.

 

Blundstone Arena is full and looking great – if bloody cold – for its first ever AFL Friday night game.

 

Majak replaces Goldy, Wood comes in for Dumont, Crocker stands in for Scott. While for Richmond, Grimes is injured in the warm-up and replaced by Chaplin.

 

Wells snaps the first, Atley bananas one through from the boundary and Boomer scores on the run. North are away. Kicking downhill to the grandstand end, they quickly lead the Inside 50 count, 11 to 2.

 

Forward pressure is excellent and we’re winning important balls around stoppages.

 

Richmond look stunned, as if they’ve just woken up from a nap and missed their train station. They’re turning the ball over and making dumb decisions. Jack finally kicks their first halfway through the quarter.

 

Richmond’s problems are made worse when Morris is carried off with a leg injury.

 

Two goals to Lindsay, both on the end of long kicks through the middle, stretch the lead to 23 points at quarter-time. It could be more, a few chances have been missed.

 

The Tigers settle a bit after the break. Hampson wins the ruck against Majak, giving Griggs and Cotchin first chance.

 

But North’s defence is organised, intercepting poor delivery, clearing through chains of handball and precise kicking.

 

The Tigers battle on, however North are patient, and Cunnington, Wells and Dal Santo ease the momentum back in North’s favour. The tall forwards are dangerous, stretching Richmond’s defence, but chances are wasted again.

 

Two goals each for the quarter and North lead by 25 points at half-time.

 

The Kangaroos are superior across the ground and it’s pleasing to see their fill up players, Wood, Nahas, Majak and McKenzie, contributing.

 

The third quarter demonstrates clearly the opposite direction these teams’ fortunes have gone this season.

 

North open by kicking five goals in as many minutes. They are ruthless and efficient and clearly loving it. Onballers skate out of the middle unharrassed, Majak gets on top around the ground.

 

Richmond roll over. Some can’t hide the fact they don’t want to be there.

 

That bloke who poses as a statue at Mona has more go in him.

 

It takes the Tigers 15 mins to cross the centreline. Vickery kicks a goal, which surprises me – I had forgotten he was playing.

 

They’re lining up to get carried off on a stretcher. Griffiths rolls an ankle and his team mates look on jealously as he escapes the humiliation. He sticks his tongue out as he goes by.

 

Fifty-seven points at three-quarter time. How far depends on how interested North are.

 

To their credit, they’re able to maintain concentration and work rate in the final term. Boomer kicks his fourth. Cunners and Swallow keep banging in.

 

Waite provides the laughs, sulking and throwing his arms about because he can’t get in on the fun. Nahas gives him a hug.

 

Final margin, 70 points.

 

It’s difficult to believe these two clubs played in an epic final half a season ago.

 

The Tigers have been as bad as North have been good. Don’t be surprised if the Tigers don’t get invited down next season.

 

And of course, Dave was right.

 

NORTH MELBOURNE    5.4   7.9   13.13   18.16  (124)
RICHMOND                     1.5   3.8    4.10     7.12  (54)

 

GOALS                  North Melbourne: Harvey 4; Wells 3; Wood, Thomas 2; Atley, Brown, Daw, Petrie, Dal Santo, Cunnington, Macmillan.
Richmond: Vickery, Riewoldt 2; Lloyd, Deledio, Miles.

 

BEST                     North Melbourne: Wells, Swallow, Dal Santo, Cunnington, Ziebell, Daw, Harvey.
Richmond: Cotchin, Grigg, Miles, Hampson, Rance.

 

Umpires Brendan Hosking, Ray Chamberlain, Robert Findlay Official crowd: 17,844

 

OUR VOTES        Wells (NM) 3, Swallow (NM) 2, Dal Santo (NM) 1.            

 

Comments

  1. Tim Pegler says:

    Great line about Griffiths. At the ground, it was pretty clear there were blokes who were over it and didn’t want to be out there. None in blue and white, thankfully.

  2. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Starkers,
    What you don’t learn at the Preston Market is not worth knowing anyway. Onya Dave.

  3. Andrew Starkie says:

    Richmond were as interested as GCFC at the Cattery earlier in the season. Huge gap bw top teams and rest.

  4. Paul Spinks says:

    As commented on a Tiger fans post – thought Roos were very good more than Tigers bad. Held my interest throughout despite the scoreline. Can you have a flat game next week against Cats, please. Sans Hawkins in an absurd piece of tribunal theatre.

  5. Andrew Starkie says:

    Confident we’ll beat Cats, Paul. With or without Tom H.

  6. Rick Kane says:

    Love it AS, you can feel the writer relishing the Richmond lines! This reader certainly did.

    Do you ever talk the Roos guy at the fish store (just near the stall that sells framed pictures of Footy stars, movie stars and dogs playing cards) at Preston markets? He’s a mad fan. I reckon you’d get on.

    Also, need to check your Tassie credentials. When you say drinking Tassie beer, do you mean from the south or north? It makes a difference. It really does!

    Cheers

  7. North will need to bring, and will bring, the same attack on the ball that undid Richmond against Geelong. The competition is too close for lapses, and there will be no lapses from North Melbourne. I am certain it will be business as usual for North Melbourne this week again.

  8. Dave truly is a wise man, Starkers.
    And I concur with him – I didn’t think North were too bad v the Swans,
    and everyone knows I can be a harsh critic, ha ha. Swand got the jump
    and a 4-goal break in the first q and that was basically where it ended.
    North’s kicking at goal was poor at crucial times, also. Surprisingly, the
    lack of space on the SCG didn’t suit North, which was surprising also.
    The Swans will beat up plenty of teams on the SCG this season.

    As for Bellerive, I have already written that the Tigers may well have been
    witches’ hats. And what is Hardwick doing on Saturday saying that the
    Tigers can still play finals? Does he think Richmond supporters are fools?

  9. We are fools

  10. Andrew Starkie says:

    Rick, I will check him out Friday; Cascade.

    Smokie, I thought we were totally outplayed against Sydney. Too physical. No one will beat them up there.

  11. Josh's dad says:

    Andrew, Josh,his girlfriend Liz and I ventured to Hobart for the game,had 3 days down there to be exact.It was a good result,warmed us up to see Richmond beaten like that.Had room pass’s,courtesy of Anthony Stevens for after the match. Josh has a part time job with Fox Footy, in the studio’s,he had to go straight there after we got back to Melb.on Saturday arvo.

  12. Matt Watson says:

    Apparently before the game against the Swans, a bug ripped through the club.
    Lots of sick footballers.
    My Richmond fan cousin was talking up the Tigers before the game.
    Silence since.
    Poor Richmond. Been mediocre for so long.
    History is starting to hate them.

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