Round 16 – North Melbourne v Essendon: ‘Baby Bombers’ competitive but North just too classy

On Friday night at Etihad Stadium, the Bombers met their old rivals, North Melbourne, to renew hostilities and, for the first time since Rounds 2 and 3, get two wins in a row. Coming off a win against Melbourne last week would have been a confidence booster not only for the players, but for the whole club including the supporters. The Bombers again fielded a very young side, which has them dubbed as the new ‘Baby’ Bombers. A win was going to be tough but if they brought the effort from last week they were in with a shot.


It was North, however, who got the win by 25 points over a young, competitive Bombers outfit. North just had more class and were able to convert their chances better than the young Bombers outfit.


As the first quarter began the Bombers knew they had to get off to a good start and take their chances, as they probably knew that North were going to punish them if they didn’t. Neither side were able to get on top as they were both missing chances to score a goal. It wasn’t until the 12th minute that the first goal was kicked by North and this was after a horrible miss by Joe Daniher from the goal square at the other end. For the most part of the quarter it was the Bombers who had a lot of the play and were looking good, but they were unable to take their chances. This proved costly as North were able to take it up the other end and get a goal. North were up by nine and they had the mini break. The Bombers needed a goal to reward them for their effort. With not long left in the quarter, Patty Ambrose was able to kick straight and get the Bombers first goal of the game. It bought the margin back to 4 points and the Bombers finally had some reward for their efforts. So as the quarter time siren went, not long after Ambrose’s goal, the Bombers trailed by 4 points at the first break. It was a good tight contest in the first, with neither side taking full opportunity of their chances; the score was 2.4 to 1.5.


As the second quarter was about to get underway the Bombers knew they had to get off to a good start and start taking their chances otherwise North could punish them later in the game. They were able to get that good start, as they got the first goal of the term through Cale Hooker and with his goal they hit the front. Then after a goal-saving tackle to James Gwilt, the Bombers took it up the other end and goaled, this extended the margin out to seven points. After a nice goal to Shaun Edwards the margin was 13 points and things looked good for the Bombers as they were playing better than North in this term. When it looked like the Bombers were going to kick away, North responded and this happened a couple of times, Bombers would kick a goal, North would get one straight back. This run of alternate goals included a goal to second gamer Jayden Laverde, his first in AFL football, who was playing well. The Bombers were playing well and converting their chances, unlike the first and as the half time siren went they were up by eight, looking much better than North around the ground and up forward, score was 6.7 to 5.5.


This lead to an intriguing second half, as the Bombers were looking to continue where they left off in the first half and North looking to lift their intensity. It was North who got the first blow of the second half by getting a goal after a turnover by the Bombers. This bought the margin back to three points. From then on North started to dominate as they were getting inside 50 after inside 50 and after a free kick in front of goal North hit the front. The experience was starting to show for North as they were putting immense pressure on the Bombers, which lead to another goal, North’s fourth in a row, which got the margin out to 10 points. At this stage the Bombers needed a goal otherwise the game would slip away. They were able to get one, through Ben Howlett to reduce the margin to four. The Bombers were still very much in this game, North just looked more skilful around the ground. What didn’t help the Bombers’ cause were the silly free kicks they were giving away around the ground. These free kicks proved to be costly as it lead to two goals to North right at end of the term to get the margin out to 16 points. So as the three quarter time siren went North were on top, the Bombers were hanging in there though, margin was only 15 points, 10.7 to 7.10.


So with the last quarter getting underway, first goal was crucial to the outcome of this game. It was North who were able to get the first two goals of the quarter to get the margin out to a game high 26 points. At this point the game looked all but over as it looked highly unlikely that the Bombers were going to get five goals to win the game. This was due to North doing enough to deny the Bombers a chance to get back in the game and the Bombers’ avenue to goal had completely dried up. The Bombers were able to get a couple of late goals through Howlett and Hurley, to give them some chance as the margin was only 13 points with four minutes left. This was quickly snuffed out by North who goaled and killed any chance of a Bomber comeback. North then got a late goal in junk time to get the margin out to 25 points and as the last two minutes were just played between the 50 metre arcs the siren went and North had won by 25 points, 14.9 to 9.14.


So in the end it was North who got the win on Friday night by 25 points, the Bombers had a good crack and gave North a run for their money throughout the whole game. North just had more class in the end and were able to take their opportunities better than the Bombers were. Again scoring was the issue for the Bombers as they had plenty of inside 50s in this match and to go with that they missed some easy shots on goal. It was a good effort though and definitely a step in the right direction for the Bombers.


About Nick Weidmann

Former Honours student in Journalism at the University of Tasmania and passionate Essendon supporter

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