Round 7: Essendon v North Melbourne: A Win’s a Win, Especially Against Essendon.

A Win’s a Win, Especially against Essendon

Essendon versus North Melbourne
7.50pm, Friday 15 May
Etihad Stadium, Melbourne


With the benefit of a night’s sleep and a thorough debrief this morning with Dave the fruiterer, I feel a damn sight better about last night’s victory than I did post-match.

As Dave said, ‘A win’s a win, mate, especially against Essendon.’

Heading home on the Upfield line last night with James, my big mate whose family history is written in the pages of the North story through his grandfather who served as Arden St doorman over a few decades, it was fair to say we were a bit flat. The glass was half empty.

North were jumped early. Essendon kicked the first three goals and led five to two by quarter-time. North wasted set shots – Waite and Higgins both missed twice – and the Bombers were able to counterattack with overlap. Colyer was too quick for Jacobs and Watson pushed forward after centre clearances and outsmarted defenders. Both kicked two goals. McKernan, in for the injured Carlisle, was dangerous, and it was obvious North had not prepared for him. Essendon’s run and forward targets set a challenge for Brad Scott.

North got things back on their terms in the second quarter. They won clearances through Jack and played a more patient game, prepared to move the ball around before going forward. Kicking for goal improved and at the other end, Hansen took marks. Essendon were kept to one goal for the term and North led by two goals at half-time. They looked in control and the Bombers appeared to be tiring, not surprising considering the week they had had with WADA telling ASADA to move aside and let the big boys take over.

North should have finished the game off after the break, however lost momentum and appeared sluggish. Disposal was sloppy again – Lindsay’s yips returned – and a number of players, Boomer and Drew included, were down.

Essendon came again thanks to Daniher’s screamer and goal, Hurley who had carved up Waite, and Heppell, bounding free through half-back and the middle. The margin was inside two goals at the last change and the game was in the balance. To be honest, if Essendon’s forward delivery had been better, they may have led.

Drew dropped back in defence and he and Boomer lifted. Jack kicked the sealer on the run from a centre clearance and dragged North across the line. But it wasn’t a convincing effort.

Well, that’s how James and I saw it.

Thankfully, Dave brought perspective to the conversation. As I pondered over strawberries and tomatoes at his Preston Market store, he smiled and shook his head.

‘What about the positives? He asked.

Jack produced a best on ground performance with a dozen clearances. When some teammates were down he provided grunt and leadership over four quarters.

Gibson had his best game for the year, gut-running from end to end, Nahas continues to have an impact, and Goldy and Swallow are continuing their good seasons.

Hansen’s back in the grove. Hird played an extra forward in an attempt to make him more accountable, however he was still able to drift in from the side and take a heap of marks.

And while Waite thought he was still playing at Carlton – he was lazy, got flogged, missed crucial shots and got reported for a limp, late spoil – he still kicked two goals.

‘We got the four points, mate,’ Dave said, arms outstretched.

He’s right. Good teams still get the job done when they’re not playing well.

And as I sit in the backyard on this lovely sunny Saturday arvo, coffee in hand, footy on the radio, Mr Binky the rabbit nibbling at the grass and Eloise bouncing on the trampoline – ‘Look at me, Daddy!’ – I’m reminded of how much more relaxing a weekend is after a Friday night win. Especially against that mob.


Our Votes:

Ziebell (NM) 3, Hurley (Ess.) 2, Hansen (NM) 1.



  1. Andrew,
    I felt the same way, especially given the players Essendon had out.
    North should’ve won, we did win and the margin could’ve been bigger.
    It was aggravating that Essendon fans complained about the umpires.
    They did get the short end in the second term, but it evened out.
    As my Bomber fan mate said, North would’ve won regardless.

  2. I’ll add my voice to the chorus of acceptance. It was ok, despite being a tad uninspiring overall. A top shelf game from Jack, return to form by Gibbo and Hansen finding some game touch were all good takeaways.

    Difference in scoring shots more indicative of the flow of the game than the final margin.

    Tarrant’s settling in nicely down back and Lachie’s already made a huge difference in stopping inside 50s converting to scores. Two good games in a row from Drew.

    It’s just the midfield needing to use the ball better now. Dal Santo and Wells would help with that. Also kicking straight. Kicking straight would be good.

  3. E.regnans says

    A Starkie – reckon there’s wisdom in that greengrocer.
    We could all spend an eternity look at the “should haves.”
    Yer man there is looking at the “dids.”

  4. Andrew,
    It was a much improved performance on the week before v Richmond in Hobart.
    That said, Waite is no good.

  5. Andrew Starkie says

    Smoke – agreed; fear he will cost us in Sept;

    E. – yep; there’s a lesson in that;

    Rob – Tazz maybe our missing link; who to come back? Nicky, Wellsy, Grima, Wood??

  6. Hi Andrew, I went to the game with brother-in-law whose surprise 40th birthday present from his wife was a family trip from Launceston to Melbourne. They are all Kangas supporters. Yay! We walked away from the game relieved but thinking we won because we made less mistakes and had more composure when it mattered. Jack Z was great as was Ben C, Gibbo and Drewy for shutting the game down. The media prism has focused more on what a great game that was. That surprised me somewhat but I thought maybe I’d missed something. The game upon review was good but still riddled with errors. Everything Brad Scott had been working with has led us to this moment: good sides know to win when everything is not going so great. Dermott Brereton said as much. The platform has been set in 2014. We can know what to expect as North supporters and that is that the team knows how to win when it matters. Freo in Perth will again test this theory. But off the back of last year’s game there I can at least have some confidence. Cheers PT

Leave a Comment