Round 11 – North Melbourne v Richmond: A new dawn, baby

North Melbourne versus Richmond

7.50pm, Friday 31 May 2019

Marvel Stadium, Melbourne



Friday night, Daff guides me through the dark and wet laneways of Chinatown on our way to the Dungeon. This is what I’m thinking: North Melbourne will play well, bringing confidence from last week’s win over the Bulldogs, and sustained effort and dare to impress the new coach. But, I worry about skill errors, including in front of goal, poor decision making and over use of the ball – problems North have had all season.


In what should be an entertaining match, I expect the Tigers’ talent and more consistent skill to carry the night.


We gather with a group of blokes, standing room, city side, centre wing. Daff stirs the pot by questioning why Hardwick would risk Cotchin’s dodgy hamstring against a lower team.


Like that is it? Bring it on then.


Early on, it looks like my fears are justified. The Tigers’ forward press carrels North in their defensive area. The Kangaroos struggle to get through and turn over possession.


But North persist with a direct style. They run hard at the wall and eventually break through. Late goals give a 5 point lead.


The second quarter is grinding and mostly played between the fifty metres arcs. North look slightly better and set to hold a half-time break until Dusty kicks two late goals, one-out at full-forward against Thommo. The first is dubious and Dusty should’ve been done for a push in the back. A goal just before the siren by Wood gives North back the lead.


As a Kangaroo supporter, I know to never take anything for granted. I’ve seen too many folds and fade-outs and under Brad Scott, North were notorious for taking their foot off opponent’s necks. There were times I could almost see the wind blow out of North’s lungs.


But, I’m confident at half-time. Richmond are hanging in but are stretched, filling holes left by injured players. As he did last week, Goldy is giving his younger opponent, Soldo, a lesson. Without Rance holding onto his jumper, Browny has kicked two on Garthwaite and North will look to isolate him in the second half. Bachar is best for Richmond, but is getting the ball deep in defence and not having an impact.


I tell Daff we’ll win this. He rolls his eyes.


The third quarter is a highlights package. Everything goes right. North crash in, dominate stoppages, attack, link, hit targets.


Cunners and Jed feed off Goldy; Zurhaar flies for screamers and tackles like a crazy man; Mason, kicks his fourth, the best after sitting under a hospital ball. This from a player who usually only runs for an uber. He needs to realise how important he is, produce this effort every week, and continue to take the heat off Browny.


Six goals to one, the game is done. This is the best quarter North have played in a long time and  should be replayed in team meetings for the rest of the season as instruction in how good they can be.


Daff has gone quiet.


The lead blows out early in the final term. Browny kicks his fifth. He’s back and we love him. Tazz has added Lynch’s head to his collection. After a slow start to the season, he’s in All-Australian form.


Goals in junk time to the Tigers reduce the final margin to 37 points.


The story of this match is about North. Usually too reliant on older players, we’ve found a few special ones in Zurhaar and Thomas, while LDU and Simpkin are now understanding what AFL footy is about. There’s plenty of upside.


If this is what we get from North for the remainder of the season, they will worry plenty of opponents and have a say in shaping the Eight.


It’s a new dawn, baby.


NORTH MELBOURNE    4.1   6.7  12.7  15.9 (99)
RICHMOND                  3.1   6.3   7.4    9.8 (62)


North Melbourne: Brown 5, Wood 4, Anderson 2, Larkey, Simpkin, Polec, Thomas
Richmond: Martin 3, Butler 2, Lynch, Castagna, Prestia, Astbury


North Melbourne: Cunnington, Ziebell, Wood, Zurhaar, Brown, Tarrant, Simpkin
Richmond: Houli, Martin, Prestia, Stack, Castagna, Cotchin


North Melbourne: Macmillan (calf), Turner (ribs/shoulder)
Richmond: Nil


Reports: Nil


Umpires: Margetts, Chamberlain, Hay


Official crowd: 29,326 at Marvel Stadium



Do you really enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE



For my uncle, Basil Cleary, who threw down well flighted, tricky, under arm offies, just short of a length, stubby in other hand, after lunch on Christmas Day.



  1. Paul Daffey says

    I enjoyed my night, if not the result. North were just too good,

    Cameron Zurhaar looks like a Roos player from central casting. But Tarynn Thomas looks far too talented to be wearing the blue and white stripes.

    He’s my new favourite player!

    Poor Ryan Garthwaite gets a lot of goals kicked on him in the Richmond backline. I thought the Tigers could cover the loss of any player in the current zeitgeist. But it doesn’t quite look to be the case.

    Well done, Stark!

  2. Thanks for the reminder of the win last Friday, Starkers.

    “Without Rance holding onto his jumper…” Ha ha, so true, so true!

  3. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Great win for the Boners, Starkers. Rhyce the Redeemer ! His side of the family has a good coaching pedigree. Uncle Tony? Not so much. Enjoy the ride with Rhyce.

Leave a Comment