Round 2 – GWS v North Melbourne: Off-Broadway




Greater Western Sydney v North Melbourne

1:05pm, Sunday June 14

Sydney Showground Stadium



off-Broadway (adj.): of, in, or denoting a class of theatres which are smaller than and located apart from those in the Broadway theatre district and typically stage less expensive or commercial productions.



The chief football writer of The Age, Jake Niall, is fond of using the term “off-Broadway” to describe teams, and indeed players, who ply their trade in the less desirable of the AFL-fixtured time-slots, such as Sunday evenings. More broadly, “off-Broadway” refers to matches which are not screened on free-to-air television. It is an accurate and appropriate description to which supporters of the “smaller” clubs would be well-accustomed.



Despite pioneering matches under the Friday night lights of what was then a nascent Broadway experience in the late ’80s and early ’90s, in recent years North Melbourne have been consigned to a fixture which can largely be found off-Broadway. As such, many of North’s players remain anonymous. For example, many people would be surprised to learn that Shaun Atley plays his 200th game next week. He would be less well known than nearly any player on Richmond’s list. This is the lot of the footballer who plies his trade off-Broadway. Still relatively unknown, Tarryn Thomas and Curtis Taylor are budding stars who have more talent than many regularly lauded players at the “big” clubs, while Cameron Zurhaar would be spoken about as breathlessly as Jordan De Goey if the former wore black and white stripes. And Ben Cunnington? It was only last season that he was finally spoken of as a potential All-Australian, despite the fact that he sits easily inside my top 10 all-time North players.



North’s Round 1 comeback win over St Kilda was a triumph of perseverance, worthy of even greater merit given they were two players down for much of the game. In reviews of the round, it was St Kilda’s fade-out which was mentioned questioned more so than North’s effort. I suspect that the Round 2 victory over the Giants will be given greater credence for, during the week, many pundits had selected GWS as their presumptive premier. It was a win built on defensive toughness and aggression at the football, but  with a pleasing level of improved skill and decision-making for good measure.



Shutting down Toby Greene and Jeremy Cameron is no mean feat, but the North backline is marshalled by Robbie Tarrant, who was playing his 150th game. Had he been fortunate enough to have played more matches on Broadway, he would have had at least three All-Australian jumpers. Shaun Higgins and Todd Goldstein are genuine stars of the current era, and midfielders Trent Dumont and Jy Simpkin (“Who?” I hear many ask) continue their improvement. The signs are good, and the depth is improving. Especially when you consider the likes of Nick Larkey, Luke Davies-Uniake, Majak Daw, Ed Vickers-Villers, Marley Williams and Kayne Turner will soon be knocking on the selection door.



Early wins in a 17-game season are even more crucial, given the chances of a club storming home late to claim a finals spot are greatly reduced. It is possible in this Covid-shortened year that a bolter or two will emerge to surprise the football world. Also, the fluidity of the fixture means that fixturing gurus might be forced to move some lesser lights into the brighter lights on Broadway. Generally speaking, surprises are mostly sprung by those going about their business outside of the glare of the Broadway floodlights.





GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY      1.4    2.6    5.10     8.12 (60)
                      1.2    2.6     6.8      12.8 (80)



Greater Western Sydney: 
Finlayson 2, Perryman 2, Himmelberg 2, Ward, Cameron
North Melbourne: 
Zurhaar 3, Thomas 2, Goldstein, Brown, Pittard, Taylor, Scott, Polec, Ziebell 



Greater Western Sydney: Ward, Whitfield, Coniglio, Caldwell, de Boer, Perryman.
North Melbourne: Higgins, Polec, Atley, Zurhaar, Goldstein, Tarrant, Dumont.



MALARKEY MEDAL VOTES: 3. S. Higgins (NM), 2. T. Goldstein (NM), 1. C. Ward (GWS).




Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


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About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Stone Cold Steve Baker says

    Well played Smokie.

  2. Neat analogy. Spot on.

    Much to like about the win – whether visible or not.

    Will be interesting to see how much time is given to North on all the review shows this arvo and tonight.

    Great chance next week – against the Swans. And then Hawthorn on your home deck.

  3. I like the look of Thomas, Smoke. And you are right about the Zurharr/De Goey comparison.

  4. To stretch the music metaphor maybe a bit more than is necessary, this was like going to a gig in the Croxton band room rather than a stadium show at Rod Laver Arena. A well loved local favourite band playing a mixture of greatest hits (Cunnington handballs perfectly putting teammates into space, Jack Ziebell winning the ball outnumbered 3-to-1, wheeling around full of flair and confidence, then promptly overcooking the kick), deep cuts for the rusted on fans (McMillan unassumingly mopping up loose balls in defensive 50, Atley dashing though the middle and completely misreading his forward’s lead) and almost an entire set of songs from their new album. Only because we’re in a little band room there’s nowhere to bugger off to during the new songs and it looks like, despite this being a veteran outfit whose catalogue is like an old slipper, the new album’s going to be pretty bloody good – Zurhaar, Thomas, Scott, Simpkin all exciting in their own way and with Larkey LDU, EVW all on the comeback trail.

    This season could be fun.

  5. I enjoyed your article
    As a dyed in the wool Tiger fan who lives in Brisbane -until recently the Tigers were off Broadway!! unless they were playing the Suns or the mighty Lions. The Broadway slow would be Hawks Cats Swans etc Then as the Tiges got back their mojo through the twenty teens they were becoming Broadway talent all of a sudden.( which I have enjoyed don’t get me wrong) Be thankful are not a Canberra Raiders fan in the NRL they are hardly on Broadway on Channel 9

    Too often Dream time at the G would clash with Port versus the suns in the same timeslot – so out would come the phone to catch it on the AFL app. That still happens if you’re not in Victoria due to the vagaries of the National game in a place like Qld when you have two underperforming teams most games are off Broadway thank goodness for the phone app to at least see them or log on to a radio call

  6. Luke Reynolds says

    Very impressive win Smokie. Zurhaar is a beauty.

  7. Smokie Spot on about the time slots and inequality of the competition in general.I admit haven’t watched any games glad to see the most important player at the roos in Trent Dumont continues to impress
    ( it’s ok,Smokie I make sure he pays his,Norwood Past Players and Officials Membership each year ) thank you

  8. Kevin Densley says

    “They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway”, as the well-known song goes … but off-Broadway is often the place where the more interesting shows occur, as your piece indicates, Smokie.

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