Round 4 – North Melbourne v Adelaide: Nightmare redeemed!


On the way in on the train, conversation between my mate Sean and me turns to the usual topic before any Crows game: 98.


Sigh. Shake of the head.




It still haunts. Dirty northerly blowing across the MCG;  The King limping onto the ground; Belly grimacing through the warm-up; wasted chances in the first half followed by a nightmare we couldn’t wake up from; Stevo chasing McLeod; Jarman; Rehn; McLeod; McLeod…..


Sigh. Shake of the head.




Anyway, to tonight…..


We take our place ground floor at The Dungeon, Warrnambool side wing, amongst a depressingly bad Saturday night crowd. So small, the siren has an echo.


It’s pretty simple: win tonight and get our season moving. Lose and…. well, we may as well be Carlton.


We’re pleased to see Mason back to help Browny, but disappointed in the omissions of Bailey Scott, who has started his career with promise, and Campbell who, as a second ruck, hasn’t been our worst.


The Crows have showed they’re serious after the loss to the Cats by dropping Gibbs.


Apart from a sprinkling of gold dust from Eddie, the first quarter is pretty horrible. The Crows have structure and system but there’s a training drill look about them. I’m not sure they’re prepared to get their hands and knees dirty.


North resemble a bunch of kids chasing the ball in the schoolyard. Effort is there, but the means don’t exist to back it up.


Skills on both sides are poor, particularly when kicking for goal. Crows by 4 points.


Things get worse. As is usually the case, North’s forwards get sucked too far up the ground until they’re in possession again and they turn around and run like scared cats to the other end. The ball carrier is forced to wait allowing the opposition to crowd back. We have twice as many inside fifties, however scoring in this mess is difficult. Browny has to stage to get a kick.


Elsewhere, things are just as bad. Higgo leads with his chin and gets helped off covered in blood; Davies-Uniacke ducks his head; Zurhaar, all 189 cms of him, takes the ruck.


In contrast, Adelaide’s forward line is open and scoring is relatively easier. Eddie kicks a beautiful banana goal from the fake grass. The lead is 14 at half-time, but should be more.


Milera stretches the lead to 20 points early in the third term and this game looks done. Things are so bad Sean reckons we’re missing Waite. He wanders off to get a pie and I’m thinking an early exit and Netflix.


However, impending footy mortality can focus a footballer’s mind and body.


North lift across the ground. Strong physical efforts from Wood, Zurhaar and Atley result in goals. The umpires are under Browny’s spell; he kicks three for the term.


The Crows are unable to offer a meaningful response. North are hardly West Coast, but Adelaide have no answers. M Crouch and Laird get plenty of the ball, but cause little damage, while Tex and Jenkins – flogged by Thommo and Tazz – are two big useless lumps of cheese. The Crows lack leadership.


North by 5 points at ¾ time.


The final quarter would have been exciting if the football was better. Led by Jed, also in for his first game, North throw themselves about and kick the first two, but miss others, leaving the door open, causing Sean and I to think about you know what.


Adelaide try again. Tex kicks his only goal for the night and his team’s first for over a quarter.


The match peters out with North winning by 13 points. The main emotion all round is relief rather than joy. A win is a win.


North’s season so far has been marked by slow movement, over possession and poor execution. We’re not at full strength yet and Tarrant, Goldy and Browny are building fitness after interrupted preseasons. Majak is a huge loss.


The Bombers await Good Friday.


As for the Crows, they have the bones but no heart.


NORTH MELBOURNE  1.6   3.10  7.14   9.17 (71)
ADELAIDE                  2.4   6.6    7.9    8.11 (59)

North Melbourne: Brown 4, Ziebell 2, Higgins, Cunnington, Zurhaar
Adelaide: Betts 3, B.Crouch, Milera, Sloane, Jenkins, Walker

North Melbourne: Higgins, Tarrant, Anderson, Polec, Brown, Pittard
Adelaide: Laird, M.Crouch, B.Crouch, Keath, Lynch

North Melbourne: Nil
Adelaide: Jones (concussion), B.Crouch (nose)



Umpires: McInerney, Fisher, Harris


Crowd: 17,207 at Marvel Stadium



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  1. Thanks for this, Starkers. A win is a win, even if it was ugly. I was at the Hawthorn game, and was wondering where on earth our next win would come from. How have Adelaide fallen so far since the 2017 gf?

    Interesting points:
    Two years ago, I would never have even have considered the words “Majak is a huge loss”. But I definitely agree. Thompson was cooked half way through last year. Someone will kick a bag on him shortly (Joe Daniher this week?)
    It is well past time for Mason Wood to stand up.
    It broke my heart to see Pruessy running around creating havoc for Melbourne.
    I reckon we finish in the bottom 4.

  2. Andrew – the first quarter was of an appalling standard, both teams were pathetic. The second quarter was marginally better although both teams goal kicking was disgraceful. After half time the Kangas, realising they had nothing to beat,, played better and deserved their win.

    Smokie – the Crows have gone backwards from last season (if that’s possible). Where to begin, no rucks, no run from defense, a non-existent forward line and mids that get plenty of possessions (mainly handballs) but don;t hurt the opposition with them Other than that, everything is fine. As it stands, the PYKERS will be lucky to win another game.

    . It would appear a BIG BROOM, starting from the top, is necessary to go through the club to get rid of the mounting deadwood.

  3. Pamela Sherpa says

    I wonder how many Adelaide supporters would agree with your description of Tex and Jenkins as two big lumps of cheese!

  4. Hi Pam I reckon both Tex and Jenkins would agree that they both need to lift their games (along with most of their teammates). I do emphasize that should the team carry on with their present game plan or whatever you call it, they will be lucky to win another match. However, as you well know, strange things can happen in footy and I would love to see the lads turn this disaster around in the very near future..

    In the meantime, my better half has suggested i watch a movie or write an artricle for Boomer in the Advertiser when the Crows are playing. She says she fears I may bring on a stroke or heart attack watching the rubbish the Crows are presently dishing up. She may have a point.

  5. Interesting that you started this piece with that reflection on 98, given that Adelaide’s woes can be clearly tracked back to the 2017 GF (which, interestingly, played out in a similar pattern).

    The effect of a Grand Final result on the psyche and culture of a footy club can be profound and perhaps most profound when a hot favourite loses. North at least had their redemption in 99 but I’d suggest that the shockwaves of 98 were felt within the club for many years after. How the Crows address their obvious malaise from here will be intriguing.

  6. Perhaps its time I cleared a few things up. I am a huge fan of TAYLOR WALKER. However, it pains me to see that at the moment he is not playing anywhere near his full potential. At his best his is a treat to watch with his sublime kicking skills (from either foot). Also, on the TV, he comes across as a great bloke, a lovable larrakin, if you will.

    In addition, I really love those ads his does with ROO – great stuff.

    I live in hope that the real Tex will soon burst forth. In the meantime my theme song remains as Dusty Springfield’s WISHIN’ AND HOPIN’

  7. John Butler says

    “we may as well be Carlton”. Ouch.

  8. Tex is no doubt past his prime. Probably hasn’t ever been quite the same since that terrible knee injury a few years back. I have loved watching him simply because of his ability to seriously kick the ball properly. He knows how and where to kick to a spot to make the other players lead into the space . A very old fashioned but great footballer in my view.

  9. Luke Reynolds says

    Nice Warrnambool reference. Unlike JB, I really enjoyed the “we may as well be Carlton” line!

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