Round 3 – North Melbourne v Melbourne: Seven-goal breeze at Blundstone Arena

North Melbourne v Melbourne

 

On my first trip to Tassie, many years ago, I was almost blown over when walking near The Nut at Stanley in the north-west. Travelling south, then, thorough Roseberry and then Strahan, and then later around Cradle Mountain, I got the sense I was on an island of wild weather; an outcrop which had the fortune of pimpling its way out of the ocean to take the full force of the southern and western blasts.

Some years later I was embarrassed by my inability to handle the gale at Barnbougle where insipid drives, struck with the purpose of piercing the wind, failed to get beyond the marron grass to reach the fairway. I managed to sneak in, broken by the course, under the century.

“What did you think of the course?” the pro asked as we limped towards the sanctuary of the nineteenth to replenish the soul with Guinness and other fortified beverages.

“Superb,” I said. “But tough. How’s the wind!”

“You should be here when it really blows,” he suggested.

“Really blows?” I asked. “On a scale of ten, what was it today.”

“Three,” he said. Which I hope was for effect, but I suspect wasn’t.

Tassie makes the Shipwreck Coast – and who hasn’t had an umbrella turned fatally inside out and made into an un-umbrella on an observation deck somewhere along The Great Ocean Road – feel benign. It’s a common site: the tourist in hoody, sideways rain dripping from the bridge of the nose, trying to right the brolly while his wife photographs him.

The wind in Tassie would blow your uncle off your aunty – as they say when the westerlies blow in Queensland (around the time of The Ekka).

When The Footy Show is struggling for a laugh they can always show Fat Billy on the nudist beach at Mykonos, or wherever, or the footage of North Melbourne players having their kicks blown back over their heads. It really does happen. Not so much at York Park in Launy. But certainly at Blundstone Arena in Hobart.

And so the Round 3 clash at the Blundstone Arena started, North kicking with a seven-goal wind. They used it very well, leading by the lazy seven goals, in a match they were expected to win comfortably. It looked ugly for the young Dees and you could see Paul Roos making notes for narratives to pass off responsibility even before the first siren.

The judges of wind were spot on though, because the seven-goal breeze proved to be just that, Melbourne powering back in the second quarter to make the game even. And then, in a highly entertaining game, fighting until the end, going down in the dying seconds after a wind-assisted final quarter rally.

The beauty of footy in Australia is it is played in all sorts of conditions. In the north-west of Tassie teams often agree to ditch the three-quarter time huddle. They just turn around and go the other way. The sooner the match is completed the sooner the players get to the showers to thaw out and, as is the case with golf in Ireland and Scotland, there is a great sense of relief to be behind glass as the wind blows the rain onto the glass. How pleasant it is to be inside with a bowl of soup and a glass of red.

It blew at Blundstone on Sunday. It was one of those days when the Sherrin is buffeted. It veers, accelerating from position to position, like a particle in quantum physics. But the players manage – mostly. And we are happy to sit in the benign loungeroom forgetting the conditions and having a go at, well probably Jack Watts (and David Mensch if he’s playing). My favourite moment was Boomer’s shot for goal which went in like a sidehill putt at Augusta. On the right side for a right footer, and about 30 metres out, he aimed about 20 degrees to the right of the target, and after the ball lost its forward thrust it was blown through the opening of the goal (which was made larger by the trajectory). Harvey’s kick wasn’t a draw, it was a deadest duck hook.

North were lucky to get out of this one, but a good time was had by all at Blundstone Arena, and we look forward to what Mother Nature dishes up when North line up against Richmond at Blundstone in Round 11.

 

About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and footyalmanac.com.au. He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three kids - Theo13, Anna11, Evie10. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition is to lunch for Australia.

Comments

  1. Nice John, North were indeed lucky, but also good enough to stand up going into the wind in the last. This wind, notable though it was, wasn’t even on par with the NM/WC game last year!

  2. DBalassone says

    I could feel the wind in your words JTH. I just caught the highlights of this one online:

    http://www.afl.com.au/video/2016-04-10/highlights-north-melbourne-v-melbourne

    What a cracker of a game! What a howler of a wind!

  3. Pimpling. There’s a verb for you. I like that in a Holden Caulfield sort of way.

    The wind. In Singapore wind is eerily absent for much of the year. Dr Karl could explain but I think it’s connected to the Coriolos Force? Very occasionally I’d miss it. But not Tassie wind, or even Eudunda wind.

    I didn’t see the game but given the breeze the high score, it must’ve been remarkable.

    Thanks JTH.

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