Round 7 – North Melbourne v Adelaide: Turned up to Blundstone Arena in the second quarter

1:45 pm, 6 May 2017
Blundstone Arena, Hobart

A crossed wire with the boundary umpires coach meant a commitment to patrol the white line in the Southern Football League reserves fixture at the venerable TCA Ground, scheduled for noon. Despite my best prodding efforts to truncate the breaks and start quarters early, if anything the game went over time. By the time I’d swept via home to pick up Miss 11 and gotten to our seats, the second quarter had commenced.

 

From the moment we turn up at Blundstone Arena, it’s an intense, evenly contested game. Adelaide bang the first four on quickly, including a somewhat anticlimactic 500th-plus-one double goal from Eddie Betts, being clattered by Thompson after the barely attributable first. North hit back with a couple pretty quickly, though.

 

North’s intensity all over the ground is obvious at a glance. This is the case even during Adelaide’s periods of greater ball possession. The Roos are a considerably better side than their 15th ladder place going in would have suggested. Goldstein is doing more than merely ketchup to Sauce, he’s passed him, getting telling touches everywhere.

 

Tex Walker takes a casual one hander at half forward, but his set shot misses what would have been his second goal in two minutes. This 90-second flash of brilliance turns out to be very much in the pan. Walker would later give away a soft 50 metre penalty as his frustration mounted. Both he and Betts struggled to get into the game all day. Eddie lost few admirers though, his rueful smiles after yet another snap went awry a refreshing reminder that it is, after all, only a game, and you might as well laugh as cry.

 

There is nothing like the wind advantage here that the exposed TCA had, but it’s definitely stronger on the less sheltered outer side, a lot of kicks going out on the full there, including a shot on goal by Jenkins that hits the behind post. At the other end, Ben Brown also misses with a typical big man’s running shot, had too long to think about it.

 

The rain that has threatened for the previous couple of hours finally arrives during half time – not a huge quantity, but enough to make the ball slippery, and particularly difficult if you were, say, a team trying to come back from a large deficit…

 

But it’s North who have the better of the third quarter. The wind in their direction has dropped but the rub of the green is with them now. From an awkward bounce the ball literally falls onto Brown’s boot via only glancing contact with his hands, for a goal, followed by another to Luke McDonald. The Crows pull back a couple through Betts and one of Adelaide’s better triers on the day, Richard Douglas, but the Kangas finish the quarter emphatically through majors to Wood (an impressive contested mark in the goalsquare) and Waite x 2, first with a snap and then another from a strong grab.

 

Brown receives a short pass and sinks a massive bomb from 60 metres to get the first goal of the last quarter. The Crows are trying to get their game going, but their usual precision of disposal, critical to making their style work, is missing. The pressure from North all day has been such that it’s perceived even when absent. A fluent ball movement from half back resulting in Jenkins skidding one through on the run is conspicuous in its rarity. Douglas gets a left foot snap through at his second attempt in a couple of minutes.

 

But North hit back emphatically. Hrovat kicks truly on the run from 35, then a Mystery Ruck Free™ against Jenkins results in another goal to Waite. Cunnington caps his midfield dominance with a goal as well, then a ridiculous deliberate out of bounds call has me bellowing (embarrassingly for poor Miss 11 shrinking inside her parka beside me) at Razor Ray in front of me, to no avail as this passage of play culminates in a goal to Atley.

 

Adelaide get the last couple, Jacobs’ particularly noteworthy as a good kick from a big man to thread it from a 50 degree angle, and Atkins also being rewarded for effort.

 

Siren, and in the game that I watched, Adelaide have shaded the Roos by five points. Yet the people dressed in blue and white seem very happy. Hang on, what’s happened here?

 

Oh.

 

It turns out there is a part of the game called ‘the first quarter’ that you have to play in addition to the rest of it. Apparently the Crows only turned up when I did.

 

Where were their minds? Still back in Adelaide? Misplaced by baggage handlers at Tullamarine? Blown by a pre-match visit to MONA? Who knows? Hopefully Don Pyke does.

 

This is one of those losses where the manner of it matters more than the fact. Any aura of invincibility Adelaide may have been building has been utterly blown away. ‘If it bleeds, we can kill it’ said Predator/Leigh Matthews in reference to another supposedly fearsome force. But Adelaide didn’t just bleed yesterday. It hemorrhaged.

 

North Melbourne 10.4 12.6 17.12 22.13 (145)
Adelaide 0.0 5.6 9.7 13.8 (86)

 

GOALS North Melbourne: Waite 6, Higgins 2, Dumont 2, Wood 2, Brown 2, Cunnington 2, Ziebell, Clarke, Turner, McDonald, Hrovat, Atley
Adelaide: Betts 3, Cameron 2, Jenkins 2, Douglas 2, Lever, Walker, Jacobs, Atkins

 

BEST North Melbourne: Waite, Wood, Goldstein, Cunnington, Thompson, Dumont
Adelaide: M Crouch, Douglas

 

UMPIRES Chamberlain, Fleer, Mollison                  CROWD 10,064

 

OUR VOTES J Waite (NM) 3, Wood (NM) 2, Cunnington (NM) 1.

About Mark Duffett

Expatriate Croweater in Tasmania, still following Centrals in the SANFL. You can take the boy out of Salisbury, but...

Comments

  1. Ben Footner says:

    Nothing invincible about Adelaide just yet.

    I’d be interested in your umpires critique of the performance of the men in green on Saturday – to me it felt like they were far too heavily involved in the game. The whistle was in the mouth far too much – not in favour of either team necessarily, just to the detriment of the game in general.

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    That pan that Tex flashed in was made of porcelain. His dumb, lazy effort set the tone for the whole team.

    North were good, but not 64-0 good.

    Also, our main possession getters were heavily loaded with handballs compared to North’s kicks.

    Let’s hope we look back on this as a reminder of what needs to be done each game. At least the pointless talk about going unbeaten can now stop (he reminds himself)

  3. Peter_B says:

    Good report Mark. Watching the game on TV, the Crows looked like they wanted to razzle dazzle Harlem Globetrotters the opposition on a day where the weather demanded grunt and effort.
    North are learning to win with their younger lineup. The wind made it easier for their midsize defenders to counter Walker, Lynch, Jenkins etc. Stiff to catch Waite on his annual day on.
    Made me wonder if Adelaide’s game style works in the wet or less than perfect conditions.
    Dry Track Bullies? (Keen to pass the mantle).

  4. Dave Brown says:

    There’s a first quarter now? I don’t believe it – it must be some sort of Victorian conspiracy. Absolutely flogged and unprepared for the tough conditions. Had me wondering similar things to PB, although I imagine the vernacular was somewhat different. I wonder if Jenkins and Otten are both in our best 22

  5. Mark Duffett says:

    Ben, I do recall checking the free kick count at one point and being unsurprised to find it high. There was a spate of several in quick succession against both sides (admittedly on the far side of the ground) that I had no idea what for.

    Swish, yes, hopefully we’ll look back on this as the wake up call we had to have. In a weird sort of way I wouldn’t have minded a loss to end the unbeaten streak too much – just not in this abject fashion, and not when the Crows are playing in my backyard for the first time in the best part of three years.

    Thanks PB, however the role of the weather shouldn’t be overstated. Maybe I’m over-acclimatised now, however it didn’t seem that cold, the rain shower didn’t persist past half time, and the wind was barely perceptible in the lee of the stands – long kicks from that side just continued dead straight. Probably correct to question how well their style holds up with a slippery ball, though.

    Dave, despite being unsighted in the first half, I’d actually have had Jenkins among our better players in the second; probably worth persisting with even if only as insurance against Tex going down again. Otten perpetrated a few clangers, albeit he wasn’t Robinson Crusoe there.

  6. Rulebook says:

    Mark I like the idea of only keeping score from the 1st q onwards can you implement asap.It was hard selling raffle tickets at pubs before the power game were obviously they were delighted with the score in tassy

  7. Bellerive / Blundstone is a good viewing ground, I reckon.

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