Round 19 – North Melbourne v St Kilda: The Record Breaker

The Record Breaker

 

If there is to be an enduring image of this game, Boomer’s record breaker, surely it will be Lindsay Thomas setting him up with a cheap goal in the last quarter. The two misunderstood, abrasive, chippy little small forwards sharing one between themselves. Lindsay would have wanted to give Boomer one more than he wanted to kick a bag himself this week, and I was horrified when I watched the replay later that the commentators would suggest otherwise.

 

Of course I missed it at the ground. Seated on level 1 at the 50, we were in an ideal spot to see Lindsay have the perfect sit all the way with the ball coming in from the other flank. For once he just attacked the ball, didn’t go for the ridiculous mark-of-the-year fly, and held on with sure hands. Well used to how long he takes to get his set shot routine in order, I glanced down to check twitter, and didn’t quite manage to look back up in time when the roar of approval went up.

 

It was a fitting cap to the evening, where most were here to pay tribute to a great career, and hoping for a Boomer Moment or two along the way. Even She Who Must Be Obeyed, an infrequent and usually reluctant footygoer, deemed this one worthy of her attention (though Wells and Thomas did her no favours by both wearing fluoro green boots; whenever either one got the ball it was “Wellsyyyyyy!” and I’m reminded that some people can’t tell players apart just from their gait and kicking action). Whenever he got the ball forward of centre a buzz went up, though it usually ended with a little-give-and-go or harmless short pass. The goal snuffed out any chance of a Saints comeback after Riewoldt had pegged one back a couple of minutes earlier. In truth though, it was a scrappy game just barely rescued by a few highlights.

 

There was pressure both ways for sure, but as many unforced as forced errors, and the half time score of 4.7 to 2.7 was not at all the result of finals-like pressure cooker football. It did mercifully open up a bit in the second half.

 

Waite’s goal in the first quarter was a ripper. Gathered a bouncing ball by the boundary on the right forward flank, turned and hit it perfectly. Gave us some hope that he might be recovering fitness and form in time for finals. Alas, his hip let him down again and we’re still none the wiser.

 

Petrie got as high as he has for years to grab one in the goal square in the 3rd, and started the 4th with a blind turn and snap that had us on our feet.

 

Macmillan’s long goal a fitting reward for a dashing and composed 31-possession game.

 

And for the cognoscenti, a crunching, likely goal-saving tackle by Anderson on Acres, and a kickout from McKenzie where he had to change direction and hit a perfect 50-metre pass across his body to Petrie up the middle were worth seeing.

 

For the Saints, Weller, Ross, Acres, and Roberton were all impressive from their younger brigade I thought. They’ve had the good fortune to be North’s opponents for Petrie’s 300th as well as this game, and the club have been classy on both occasions. Jack Steven must be sick of us though; been tagged out of having any influence twice, and this time around Dumont also hurt him going the other way.

 

After the siren all that was left to do was ponder Boomer’s legacy. It’s more than the records, the skills – probably the best kick inside 50 since the arc was first painted on – or the dedication to his craft that everyone at the club talks about. The cliché of the 90s was “no Carey, no North” but it might really be closer to the truth to say no Boomer, no North. In 2007 when the league wanted to kill the club and send the carcass to Queensland, the wooden spoon favourites made a preliminary final, largely on the back of Harvey’s stellar season. Without that performance to rally around, who knows what might have become of the club? We may well owe North Melbourne to a tiny, angry, speedy rover-cum-forward pocket.

 

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Comments

  1. Andrew starkie says:

    Great piece Rob. We’re privileged to have Boomer.

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