Round 12 – Geelong v North Melbourne: Kick Up The Pants


Geelong versus North Melbourne

7.25pm, Saturday 11 June

Etihad Stadium, Melbourne


This is what I saw:

At the opening bounce, Swallow goes to his opposing captain, Selwood. No one stands beside Dangerfield.

Geelong start well. On the balls of their feet.

North don’t. They looked sluggish.

Danger is big, huge, but moves as quickly as anyone on the field. No one can stop him clearing from the centre. He chews up the grass, making a small ground look tiny.

Without Jacobs, we don’t have a player to go with Danger. Even with him, it’s doubtful. Too small. Very few clubs do. Kennedy at Sydney, perhaps? Similar build, size and tank.

Swallow follows Selwood but his eyes aren’t committed. He’s an in-and-under player: likes to get the ball out, not wait for someone else to get it first.

North in trouble early.

Ball is coming into Geelong’s forward line quickly. Tazz, Spud and Thommo under pressure, they make mistakes. Menzel capitalises.

Cunners cops a knock to the knee and hobbles off.

Cats miss a few shots and make mistakes at the other end. Jack’s two goals keep North in touch at quarter-time.

Geelong fans around me are worried. Two recent losses to Collingwood and Carlton have left their confidence shaky.

So am I – Swallow and Cunners are off with injuries, the former after receiving a knock to the head in a sling tackle. If they’re out for the game, we’re in trouble.

North settle. Deny Geelong possession. Jack wins clearances. Defence on top. Tazza is a star. All-Australian? Gibbo is everywhere.

Geelong turnovers, North slingshots. Boomer. Boomer. Boomer. Outsprints Mackie and kicks his fourth from his pocket.

‘He never misses those,’ I say to the Geelong supporter beside me.

Cats miss set shots.

North up at half-time. I feel they have seen off Geelong’s best efforts, but am worried about our injuries.

Swallow gone for game. Cunners strapped thigh and limping badly. Nicky Dal proppy.

Cats start the third term like they did the first: possession at clearances; quick entry to the forward line, creating scoring opportunities.

Five goals in 10 minutes. Kersten, beaten by Thommo early, kicks two. Menzel as well.

Geelong’s pressure is excellent.

North are spectators. Their lack of engagement is worrying. With Swallow gone, where are the leaders? Jack looks diminished.

Lindsay, Nicky Dal and Gibbo are in the centre taking on Danger and Selwood. No hope.

Late goals reduce the margin to inside three goals, but this game is Geelong’s. As simple as that.

The final term is Danger’s lap of honour. Alone as usual, he collects possession after possession, pausing occasionally to acknowledge the applause, like a comedian between gags.

He is reminding me of McLeod in the 98 GF.

He gathers on the wing, delivers in board and runs forward. McKenzie tries to go with him, gives up, tries again, but it’s too late. Danger marks at CHF, slots the set shot and raises his fist in final triumph.

Selwood has been almost as good. Enright has stopped Boomer.

Waite has been flogged by Taylor. His third bad game in a row. He turns it over on the wing, drops his head and refuses to chase.

Geelong by 31. Convincing. A statement.

This is what I think:

In a big match, Geelong came to play. North didn’t. You only have to be 2% off. The Cats won every relevant stat, contested possessions the most telling (144-107). They’re a good team; better than I thought.

Bad night for North, or something more? Was last week’s win against the Tigers too easy? Are the rumours North are already thinking premierships true?

Why didn’t B Scott give someone a defensive, run with job on Danger? With Swallow starting on Selwood, did he think one tagger was enough? Did he back our forwards to win a shoot out? I would have liked Jack to get the job on Danger from the start, head to head.

Injuries didn’t help, but this loss was a kick up the pants.

Good teams respond.


GEELONG 4.4 5.9 12.11 15.15 (105)
NORTH MELBOURNE 4.0 8.1 11.2 12.2 (74)

GOALS Geelong: Menzel 4; Kersten 3; Bartel, Dangerfield 2; Lang, Caddy, Duncan, Motlop.
North Melbourne: Harvey 4; Ziebell, Petrie, Wood 2; McDonald, Thomas.

BEST Geelong: Dangerfield, Selwood, Menzel, Taylor, Bartel, Enright.
North Melbourne: Wells, Tarrant, Harvey, Gibson.

Umpires Donlon, Stevic, Stephens crowd 44,025 at Etihad Stadium

Our votes Dangerfield (Gee) 3, Selwood (Gee) 2, Menzel (Gee) 1.

FAlmanac banner sq


  1. Starkers,
    In a game in which momentum is a huge psychological advantage,
    more than most North strike me as a team that struggles to deal
    with momentum when it is running the other way. (Remember the
    Melbourne game in Hobart?)
    Injuries really starting to bite now.

  2. And is there any danger of B Scott giving someone – anyone – a debut?
    Every other club seems to play a couple of new young blokes – except us.

  3. Starks – B. Scott was asked about lining someone up on Dangerfield. He basically asked “who?”. Fair question when Dangerfield is in that mood. Putting Swallow on Selwood was right, because it has looked in previous weeks that a subdued Selwood means a subdued Geelong. Not this week.

    Geelong must have Dangerfield up and about to beat the good teams. Geelong must have Menzel playing to beat the good teams. Selwood too. If we get our spuds in Caddy and Murdoch out of the team (replaced by Selwood 2, and Cockatoo) we will be a lot better.

    Fascinating season. The Roos have a few issues. Wonderful midfield. Waite is a worry in big games. And Goldstein just has to play.

  4. Andrew Starkie says

    Smoke, I’d bring Dumont in if Cunners and/or Swallow don’t get up. regardless of his off field issues, he’s a tough onballer and we need his sort against Mitcheel, Lewis etc. He didn’t play against Richmond twos on Sunday for reasons I don’t know. Hopefully he’s fit.

    I really miss Higgins. Goldy unfit.

    Dips, someone – Jack – had to at least try to go with Danger early on Saty night. It looked like arrogance to me on Scott’s behalf.

    Good teams respond.

  5. Andrew Starkie says

    i watched the twos on Sunday – Majak came off at half-time, not sure why; lachie was very good; Clarke is afuture player – onballer;

  6. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Big one this Friday Starkers. Must win for North psychologically and numerically. Must keep Hawthorn away from Top 4. Waite, Brown and Petrie need to fire.

  7. Andrew Starkie says

    Yes, Phil. Yes.

  8. gary robb says

    Excellent summary Andrew .I thought the writing was on the wall after 5 minutes -easy clearances and no mid field/forward pressure .Geelong`s inaccuracy kept us in touch.
    The three talls up forward has not worked against good sides -if they cant take a mark then they cant compete when it hits the ground . Geelong rebounded too easily .Waite , Petrie both very poor on Friday night
    Higgins is a big loss .Apart from his foot skills he can crumb .Thomas is struggling although the naming and shaming in the media hasn’t helped .Will never get another free kick !
    !Couldn’t agree more about the failure to promote young players .None of the draft picks from 2014 or 2015 have been promoted .Injuries have been an issue but surely Wagner or Clarke are better long term proposition than Nahas ?

  9. Rulebook says

    Good summary although as a crows supporter you put a dagger thru the heart saying,Danger reminds you of McLeod in the 98 gf reminding us what we have lost he is number 1 player in the game in my book.Why won’t the roos give,Dumont a cdecent crack at it? How is Durdin going ? thanks Starks

  10. I didn’t see the game at all other than the highlights, but it ooks like basically they were down 3 midfielders from the 1st quarter, plus Nahas’ broken finger. They do have some small-medium forwards who can run through the midfield but unfortunately they are Higgins, Anderson and Garner.

    Higgins, Anderson, Garner, Wright, Jacobs, and then Swallow, Cunnington, Dal Santo, Nahas and Atley during the game is a significant injury list

    Dumont, Ray and Wagner were pulled from the VFL game because they would be coming off a 5-day break if they were needed next week, and Daw rested after 1/2 time for the same reason.

    The drop in form of the 3 talls is a concern right now, and carrying that injury list through a tough run of games will most likely hurt, but I haven’t seen any other signs that this year’s model lacks the application or consistency to have a good run at it. They’ll be right, and Geelong is a good team.

  11. Andrew Starkie says

    Good thoughts, Rob.

  12. John Butler says

    Starkers, much of what you saw was astutely observed.

    I don’t buy the ‘Dangerfield is unstoppable’ line. You can collectively make it harder for any player.North didn’t look like they even tried.

    Throughout history, three big forwards have been an asset if they’re clunking marks and kicking goals. If they don’t, and the ball hits the deck, they’re a liability. Simple as that.

    Phil is spot on. You have a big brown and gold monkey on your backs. If you don’t do something about it this week it’ll only get worse.

  13. Andrew Starkie says

    Yep, JB. Couldn’t believe it when no one went to Danger. Arrogance?

    I recall a similar ‘Buddy is a freak of nature’ line after he kicked 12 against NM in Hobart a few years back.

  14. jan courtin says

    Injuries are so telling, especially during the game when the team has fewer players available – as happened with North and the Swans on the weekend. Sure, good teams should be able to cover for such losses, but that’s in subsequent matches, not on the day. Swallow is a big loss.

    At least you must have been happy that our (Swans) loss allowed you one more week at the top!

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