Round 4 – Geelong v North Melbourne: Hardly a Heart-Stopper

Turns out I have a dicky ticker.

Supra-ventricular tachycardia to be exact. Not life threatening, but inconvenient and the cause of some minor disquiet with She Who Must Be Obeyed. Under certain kinds of stress an afferent pathway kicks in, messing up the carefully designed cardiac electrical systems and the whole thing races for a while.

This is also a wee bit embarrassing. I try to be a pretty calm footy watcher. It’s only sport. It’s only footy. And yet … once the action heats up, up it goes. I suggested to the cardiologist that he didn’t need to put me on the treadmill to do the tests, just show some video of Jamie Macmillan missing tackles.

I’m convinced at this point it’s a Pavlovian response conditioned by the thrilling run home to the finals in 2012, the Kardiac Kids losing all those close ones in 2013, and the will-they-or-won’t-they Roos of 2014 with their two last-gasp finals wins.

And so it is that halfway through the first quarter, with North missing targets and wasting sloppy inside-50 chances, and the Cats making the most of their opportunities, SWMBO reaches for my wrist, sighs, rolls her eyes, and flips off the telly.

“I’m starting to think maybe you just can’t watch footy until you get that seen to.”

So I keep an eye on the progress on my phone. Clark gets his second to put the Cats 4 goals up. Goldy hits the post with a very gettable chance. It’s looking like one of those days despite Nahas getting fed one by Waite and a miss from Clark. Quarter time and the Cats up by 19. Could be worse. North are working hard and not giving up any easy ones, but looking like they’d much rather be playing in the Etihad loungeroom.

Pottering around the kitchen trying to look busy, my pulse returns to normal. I proffer my arm for another check.

“OK. watch it if you must.”

Geelong is undermanned but still a tough ask on their own weirdly shaped ground. Hawkins misses one, and in reply Waite roves a Petrie contest to snap his first. Jacobs intercepts and bursts off half back for Bastinac to skid one through off the wet turf from well outside 50. After a dour 15 or so minutes more, Waite and Petrie nail set shots to hit the front. Nothing much to set the pulse racing here.

A far cry from last week’s electrifying Port/North game at half time. Had Bartel, Wells, Stokes, Dal Santo, Lonergan and Hansen been fit it may have gone up a level. Or not, who knows? You could script the postgame pressers already: sure it wasn’t pretty but the sort of win we had to have, they’re a quality side that other mob, proud of the boys.

It would be charitable to describe the third quarter as “engrossing”, though not without its charms. Hawkins’ goal a feelgood moment, while North’s defence looks surprisingly well organised with Tarrant taking to his new role and Wright and Jacobs in good touch. A couple of goals each, but the Roos wasteful with their two most reliable set shots — Brown and Thomas — both missing very gettable ones.

It continues in the last as Atley misses right. Kicked it like a backman, and let’s just say my spidey senses are tingling. Thoughts turn to the subs: for Geelong Stevie J, mercurial, unflappable; for North Trent Dumont on debut. Stevie gets the Cats within a couple but it’s Froggy who hogs the limelight. Steals a hospital handpass from a 1-on-2, hits Waite on the tit with the pass, then outruns Blicavs to follow up and get the handball over to Brown for a bit of breathing room. With his next touch he crumbs a pack and calmly slots the goal from 25 off the outside of his boot. A couple from the ever-surprising Nahas and one to the immense Goldy put it beyond doubt. Geelong pepper away for a bit at the end, but all for naught. I politely ask my internal organs what they were worried about this whole time.

I couldn’t be happier for the two Robbies, Tarrant and Nahas. They’ve both taken the hard road back to the seniors through injury, and in Nahas’ case through delisting and the rookie list. There’s a few more who should treat playing as the rare privilege these guys do.

Geelong look a shadow of their old selves, but they’re still Geelong and it’s still Kardinia Park. Sure it wasn’t pretty but it’s the sort of win we had to have, they’re a quality side that other mob, proud of the boys.


  1. Andrew Starkie says

    Or Lindsay taking a dive; or Drew giving up front spot…..

    Take care Rob. Great piece. Go Roos, we’re on our way.

  2. Rob,
    When my grandmother was 82 her doctor ordered her to stop watching football.
    She couldn’t help getting involved, no matter who was playing.
    She lived to 99, so don’t worry too much about your heart.
    It bleeds blue and white…

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