Round 22 – North Melbourne v Sydney: Clean Up Your Act, ‘Roos

North Melbourne versus Sydney

1.45pm, Saturday 20 August

Blundstone Arena, Hobart


Eloise and her mum were out for the afternoon, so I was on cleaning duties.


Such is my lack of confidence in North Melbourne these days, I chose vacuuming the house over listening to the first quarter of this match. That’s saying something.


I did have 774 on in the background, so caught the occasional bit of commentary.


Like when I pulled the cord out of the wall when I wrapped it around the leg of the kitchen table, and overheard a description of Majak missing a set shot. He’s not a forward, I muttered to myself.


And when I was moving the vacuum from the living room to the passageway and Goldy missed a snap shot and Spud ran under the ball, giving up possession. The callers were full of praise for effort at this early stage, but as has been the case since halfway through the season, North’s skill level was letting them down.


I thought I heard Spud was on Heeney but put it down to my ears being clogged with dust.


I mopped the kitchen and bathroom floors during the second quarter. Things sounded as if they were improving for North. Intensity and work rate were good, with Spitter, Jack and Nicky Dal prominent. North won clearances and entered 50 regularly, however were unable to capitalise.


Sydney were happy to drop back and soak up North’s pressure. When Mullett turned the ball over, they seized their opportunity, and Rohan scored at the other end.


I was hanging washing on the line when half-time arrived. For all North’s efforts, Sydney led by 12 points, the same margin as at quarter-time.


Early in the third term, Sydney pushed the lead out to nearly four goals and the result looked inevitable. I needed to let the floors dry so walked around the corner to watch some local footy. I left the portable radio at home.


Leaning against the fence under a soft late winter sun, surrounded by the noises and sights of suburban footy, I had almost forgotten about results elsewhere when the texts started coming in.


Defa, a smug Hawk, said: Your boys don’t wanna win this. They’re doin my head in!


Followed by Pete, a usually smug Swan, who conceded: You dominated, shoulda won.


I checked my phone: Swans by 9 points.


Later at home, I had the delayed telecast on in the background while I changed the sheets on the bed and cleaned the bathroom. Drew missed a set shot late in the third term; Browny stuck one through from the pocket. Pressure was excellent, but ball movement slow. Hansen fumbled, Heeney goaled.


North maintained their effort in the last quarter. Boomer threatened to win the game on his own, but made mistakes – he’s made more in the last month than in his whole career – and when he turned the ball over inside 50, again Sydney whipped up the other end, and Hannebery put this game to bed, ending a frustrating day for the Kangaroos.


North Melbourne’s work ethic was the best it has been for some time, and they led on nearly every stat. However, the skill, decision making and quick movement required to beat a team of Sydney’s quality and discipline, weren’t there.


With Melbourne losing to Carlton, North’s position in the eight is assured. Yet they enter September struggling more than any Finals team I can quickly recall, and it would be easy to take their medicine during week one before heading off to the beaches of the Sunshine Coast for the post-season.


What Brad Scott and his coaching team need to focus their players’ minds on over the next few weeks are the positives from this match, and hope that effort and determination soon convert into more goals. Failing to achieve this will result in North’s season shuddering to a sudden end, something difficult to fathom during the first few months of the season.


And a big decision Scott must make is whether to bring back previously long-term injured players for the Finals. Whatever he decides, God help him if he gets it wrong. The knives will be sharpened.


NORTH MELBOURNE    3.4   4.8   9.13   10.16   (76)
SYDNEY SWANS            5.4   6.8   11.9   12.13   (85)

GOALS              North Melbourne: Harvey 3; Dal Santo, Brown 2; Petrie, Goldstein, McKenzie.
Sydney Swans: Rohan, McVeigh, Hannebery 2; Hewett, Papley, Lloyd, Heeney, Kennedy, McGlynn.

BEST                 North Melbourne: Harvey, Dal Santo, Swallow, Tarrant, Wells, Macmillan
Sydney Swans: Hannebery, Parker, Kennedy, Mills, Mitchell, McVeigh

UMPIRES            Bannister, Schmitt, Meredith                            OFFICIAL CROWD 16,495

OUR VOTES         Hannebery (Syd.) 3; Parker (Syd.) 2; Harvey (NM) 1.



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  1. ” Whatever he decides, God help him if he gets it wrong. The knives will be sharpened.”
    Well he certainly decided. The search for the guilty. BScott nominates “MFirrito 1; NDalSanto 2; DPetrie 3; BHarvey 4”.
    Bizzare. Sounds like Brad has been watching Tony Soprano. Knife them before they come for you.
    Dockers will be looking for a coach in 12 months time. Brad’s the man.
    Condolences AS. Season over.

  2. I must say I’m already sick of the media crap about the 4 North players who were “sacked”. None was sacked, but they did not have their contracts renewed. There is a subtle but very important difference here. Its another media beat up: cause trouble and fill up the newspaper columns without having to find a real story.
    Maybe the Roos could have done things better, but from what I heard it was not a sacking.

  3. 3 votes A. Starkie for the cleaning.

  4. Andrew Starkie says:

    Would have given Boomer one more year and announced the other three retirements after the season.

    Impressed with the ruthlessness, however. Has been needed for years. New era.

    Dips, agree.

    Thanks for the votes, Noel.

  5. E.regnans says:

    I wonder about this announcing the news before the “possible last game in Melbourne.”
    I wonder about the impact on the individual and on the collective.
    Interesting choice.

    I agree with Dips, too. And with noelmc

  6. Strong decisions , clubs need to do this to go forward, it’s tough, but right, we can go forward very strongly and I am supremely confident about the future of North. Go Roos!

  7. Stopped reading after the skinny latte line

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