Round 9 – North Melbourne v Carlton: Murphy’s law

The bloke who attended the coin toss in the head protector closely resembled Mark Murphy. However, from the time he was wrong-footed by Jack Ziebell leading to an early North Melbourne goal, I began to have my doubts. The way the match unfolded confirmed my suspicion that Carlton was being led by Edward Murphy – the originator of the eponymous Murphy’s Law.


Anything that could go wrong certainly did both in the lead-up to the match and during it. Carlton were left with a dearth of marking forwards, and a neophyte ruckman. The enforced absence of Matthew Kreuzer and Levi Casboult left a crater which Sam Rowe, Liam Jones and Daniel Gorringe struggled to fill.


Rowe, who has played most of his 60 games with the Blues in defence proved a surprisingly effective pinch-hitter in the forward line and relief ruckman against Port Adelaide following Levi Casboult’s injury last week. Against the well-organised Kangaroos defence, he was impotent. Liam Jones – the Jesse White of Princes Park – displayed the confidence of a player who is conscious that he is one mistake away from being dragged or dropped. A simple set shot from 35 metres directly in front in the first quarter, strayed behind, when the Blues desperately needed a goal to remain in distant touch. Later in the game, Jones found himself competing in marking duels with three opponents, which is a task fitted for someone of Wayne Carey’s stature.


Gorringe’s first game for the Blues found him matched against the imperious Todd Goldstein, a mismatch of gigantic proportions. Goldstein was best afield by a decisive margin. To his credit, Gorringe didn’t throw in the towel, and he provided his own highlight with a spectacular volleyed goal, where he managed to put foot to ball barely before it crossed the goal line.


North and Carlton have history, although the greatest source of hostility is dated. The cack-handed attempt by the John  Elliott Blues to effect a hostile take-over of North Melbourne was a raw wound for a particular generation of Kangas. However, given the portability of allegiances among players, coaches and even administrators, I would guess that this is a sore point for supporters of a certain age rather than anyone officially associated with the contemporary club.


Probably a far more potent source of motivation was the discussion earlier in the week about North’s inability to put opponents to the sword during the prior eight wins. Winning margins had ranged from 5 to 38 points, so those looking for a chink in the undefeated side’s armour drew attention to this as a possible deficiency. In response, North determinedly kept their foot on the throat of their hapless opponent on Saturday night, winning each quarter decisively, keeping the Blues goalless in the final quarter as they pushed the margin out to 67 points.


North look to be a complete team. The strength of their marking forwards has been identified as a major strength – one that offers a significant challenge to Sydney this week. However, their midfield is very strong, and their defence while relatively anonymous is a model of efficiency.


For the Blues, Saturday represented an uncomfortable reminder of the gap between where they currently are in comparison to the top teams. In recent weeks, victories against lesser opposition has enabled Carlton to build confidence, develop the game plan, and provide a foundation for a better future. North Melbourne forcibly demonstrated that the Blues’ revival is a long-term project.


NORTH MELBOURNE    5.3   8.9  13.10  17.11 (113)
CARLTON                        2.2   3.4    6.5      6.10 (46)

North Melbourne: Goldstein 3, Thomas 3, Brown 2, Harvey 2, Ziebell 2, Waite 2, Nahas 2, Ray
Carlton: Jones 2, Thomas, Walker, Simpson, Gorringe

North Melbourne: Goldstein, Ziebell, Tarrant, Dal Santo, Harvey, Brown
Carlton: White, Kerridge, Docherty, Thomas, Sumner

North Melbourne: Nil
Carlton: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Farmer, Ryan, Fleer

Official crowd: 38,419 at Etihad Stadium


Malarkey Medal Votes:

3 Goldstein (NM)    2 Tarrant (NM)   1 Ziebell

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  1. Insightful analysis as always PF. I notice you didn’t write when the Blues won 4 on the trot, but you leapt back into action at the first defeat. Old habits die hard?

  2. John Butler says

    Hard to argue with much of that Peter.

    Someone should have thrown the towel for Gorringe. After 10 minutes.


  3. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Peter F,
    Your the fairest Bluebagger I’ve met. How can you follow the Blues and exhibit such humility? It was always going to be tough without the in-form Kreuzer and Casboult. If injury hadn’t plagued Kreuzer so much I reckon he would have established an impressive position in the game. When fit he really straightens Carlton up and gives first use in the ruck. Still, plenty of reason for optimism ahead.

  4. Peter Fuller says

    Thanks gentlemen for the generous comments.
    Peter, it’s essentially coincidence that I’ve returned to the fray now, although perhaps my sub-conscious is at work (how would I know?).
    I suppose another factor was that better writers and more astute judges than me, such as JB have been contributing regularly with reports of earlier matches, yet by late Wednesday there was nothing on Saturday’s match. I guess Starkie, Dawson and the other Northerners are not wishing to tempt fate by chronicling their team’s success.
    John, I don’t have any recall of Gorringe at GC, but I hope that if he’s made of the right stuff that Saturday will make him mentally stronger. I liked the fact that he kept having a dip. There’s inspiration in Scott West’s truth which came from Terry Wheeler (though it probably originated elsewhere): “It may not be your day, but it can be your moment.” Even poor players get the chance of redemption on the football field because there’s always another contest.
    Phil, to paraphrase, Winston Churchill, we contemporary Blues’ fans have much to be humble about. I agree with your assessment that we have some reason to look forward to a better future, even if it’s somewhat distant.

  5. John Butler says

    Peter, I suppose we’ll find out what Gorringe is made of now. The experience was “character building” in the extreme.

    Has Bolton brought a supply of Lordes water with him? Are Kreuzer and Casboult actually chances to play?


  6. John Butler says

    Ra da da da da!

  7. Peter Fuller says

    Well who’d a thunk it?

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