Round 8 – Fremantle v North Melbourne: In Absentia

Didn’t watch it. Still haven’t watched it.

Well, not much of it.

Saw 10 minutes of the first quarter in a bar on the way out to dinner. North already down by 3 goals, camped in Freo’s half and holding on as best they can. The Swans-Hawks game on the other screen looks more interesting.

The Dockers get another one before we wander off again.

It would be rude to keep checking my phone in polite company and anyway, the reception in the underground bunker of a restaurant is crap.

One of our dinner companions is a Tassie girl. Her father was involved with Cricket Tas getting North down there. We exchange pleasantries about how well that’s been going. I tell her to thank and congratulate him for me.

The game’s well and truly over by the time we get out. It was actually probably over by quarter time. Check the scores. 73 points. Geez.

Kicked 5.12. Ugh. Bad kicking for goal two weeks in a row. As always when that sort of thing happens, do the mental arithmetic. If it had been 12.5, would still have been a 38-point loss. 4.2 to 0.6 in the last quarter. Same number of shots.

Look at the stats. Where did they lose it? almost 100 possessions fewer, 20 contested. 10 more clangers, zero running bounces. Beaten for hitouts and clearances, but won the centre clearances while being smashed in stoppage clearances. Had one more inside-50, which looks weird. 73 tackles isn’t bad, but no better than par when you’ve basically never got it.

Check the supercoach scores. Goldstein 44. For those who don’t do supercoach, 44 is not a lot. Usually the province of a half forward flanker who gets injured or subbed in the 3rd quarter. Please don’t let him be injured.

So I guess it probably went something like this: against the best midfield in the comp, all fit and flying, and with the already outrageous Fyfe in career best form, and missing Wells, Swallow, and Dal Santo (and Brown, the best set shot in the forward line, and McKenzie – the one guy on the list who can really kick – injured and not in super VFL form anyway, and Mullett still working back to match fitness in the twos, and Patch still getting back into training after another concussion setback,) North’s midfield battled bravely in the contest but weren’t quite up to it. Going into the forward 50 a combination of shallow/disorganised and speculative long bombs. Numbers inflated by a few pointless repeat entries. Sandilands is a man-mountain and still unbeatable body on body, but he’s old and can’t jump so you’ve got a chance at centre bounces. Despite Freo not having huge tackle numbers, their pressure is constant, so North kept turning it over and never got any run and carry. Zero running bounces. Not even Boomer. Blew their chance to make it look even vaguely respectable in the last.

People who watched it, am I far from the mark?

Don’t know where I’m at with this team. The curse of expectations, of getting your hopes up. They just haven’t been that much fun to watch. Higgins has been good, Waite so-so. The players I love haven’t been stepping up and announcing themselves to the world at large. OK, by that I really mean Cunners. He’s be unobtrusively putting up good but not great performances, but I want more from him. Ziebell’s had a couple of outstanding games and a few pretty good ones. Goldy’s regressed after a blistering start. And Lindsay’s been at the centre of a “let’s change the rules” kerfuffle again. I’ve said it before: Because You Don’t Like Lindsay Thomas is not in itself a good reason to change the rules.

They’ll turn it around. They’ve finished strong almost every year of the Scott era, and the draw opens up a bit now. And 4-4 is hardly panic stations.

Bring on the Pies.


  1. Matt Watson says

    It wasn’t on TV u
    In Brisbane but I kept up to date with the scores.
    I knew we would lose but once again I was hoping for something called an honourable loss.
    North don’t lose honourably this year.
    I think your description of the game is 100% correct.

  2. Rob,
    Yes, 4-4 is hardly panic stations. But I think you are being a little kind. North finished top-4 last season, and at present are struggling to make the 8, let alone reach those lofty heights again.
    Also, with our next four assignments being Collingwood, West Coast, Sydney and GWS, I fear that we could well be 4-8 or 5-9 at the bye. I am trying to remain positive, but the manner of the Adelaide, Hawthorn and Fremantle losses has been very disappointing.
    I reckon Brad is fortunate that all the focus has been on Malthouse.

  3. Andrew Starkie says

    Rob, I’m concerned about the big losses, but they are typical of North. Brittle and inconsistent. Need to make a stand on Sunday.

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