Starting to believe


It was instructive that, of all The Age’s expert tipsters, the “Village Idiot” was the only one brave enough to plump for the Kangaroos. This telling lack of confidence came on top of the SEN overnight boys who, in the early hours of Friday morning, predicted that North would be humbled. They generally know their stuff, but the one who does not like North said he would not be surprised if we got thumped by 80 points or more!

However, I had a sneaky suspicion that the Cats were ripe for the picking: six-day break; wet M.C.G.; tough comeback over another competition heavy-weight. If North were ever to beat Geelong, it would be this day. Then my mate Tommy, known for his handy summing-up of footy form, gave me the whisper that he had tipped the Roos. I was a little more sceptical. But then again, big Andy of City Hall had tipped his old team to cause an upset.  

North hit the ground running over a team who did not look like they had come to play. Geelong were giving the distinct impression that their status demanded that they should be playing at the ‘G. Not here at Etihad, in a Sunday twilight fixture…and on pay t.v. only!

In truth, I longed only for North to be competitive. And no-one could blame me, given the pantsings we had received from the top teams over the past few seasons. Did I believe we could win? Not really. But, these days, any team is liable to be knocked off if they are even slightly off their game. After all, elite players are trained and tuned like racehorses, and we have all been on a good nag that turns up to the track not quite right…

Harvey, Swallow, Ziebell, Bastinac. A handy quartet of midfield leaders. A fantastic win. I know it comes with big caveats. The back-line looked very leaky at times, struggling to cope with the gorillas, giving up 34 scoring shots.

But it was all enough to make me realise that I am starting to believe. And, hopefully, so is North Melbourne.


Votes: 3 Harvey (NM), 2 Ziebell (NM), 1 Selwood (Geel).

About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Peter Flynn says

    G’day Smoke,

    I went.

    Very impressive.

    Quick fluid ball movement (hand and foot).

    Players with low centres of gravity just going for it.

    NM played an exciting brand of footy.

    First time I’ve heard negative crowd comments about Chappy.

  2. Smokie,

    A good win for the Kangas. They look the real deal to me (I was there) and Harvey is a marvel. Where was Lingy when we needed him?

    North will cause headaches for all teams this year and win plenty, especially at Etihad. They look strong and fast all over the field. Their handball and pinpoint foot passing to attack or get out of trouble was first class. Only slight query may be on the defence which wilted a bit in the last quarter.

    Happy with the Cats’ endeavour but it just wasn’t their day. Also happy that Chris Scott hasn’t gone looking for excuses. The better side won and probably should have won by more. Full stop.

    Now bring on the Tigers.

  3. Skip of Skipton says

    Varcoe and Wojo required ASAP. Cats lack of zip was noticable under the roof. Got away with it in greasy conditions vs. Hawks at the ‘G.

    North, courtesy of their draw having them play both GWS and GC twice, were always going to be a good show for the top eight, but I’d say a top six finish is on the cards now.

  4. Peter Flynn says


    Points and GWS percentage boost.

    Watch the Saints. They have a great fixture.

  5. Smokie – well done to the Kangas. Too tough and too slick. Cats a worry not winning the hard ball contests. Lack of hunger? Maybe.

    I love your coach. It would be good to see the kangas knocking off a few other sides in the eight to really get some momentum.

  6. By the way, I’m not a beleiver in the 6 day break excuse for the Cats, which has been put forward by the media. Geelong at its best would have found a way to win. All teams have to cope with the 6 day break at some point.

  7. I was amazed at the bleating in the media last week
    over North’s so-called “soft” draw.

    Considering some of the draws North have copped
    over the past couple of years, we were due one!

  8. Skip of Skipton says

    Good luck to North with their draw, espescially if they were due one. I can’t help thinking that the softest draw of all, that given to the Crows, was no accident. The AFL don’t want both SA teams floundering outside the top eight, for a third year in a row. Some of the good folk over there might start dropping off and turning their interest to the SANFL. Got to look after the ‘brand’.

  9. Without either predudice or excuses, Smokie, I find the League’s attitude to rigging the draw akin to corruption.

    There is no way of finding out how long it takes to even up and I doubt if there is any intention to.

    I am no Gigs I understant the basics of mathematics and patterns and it just does not appear to be adding up.

    I doubt if the rotational draw would ethically stand up to scrutiny if it were crunched through an Enigma Box.

    They are simply cooking the books for some perceived outcome.

  10. Rick Kane says

    Congrats Smokie on a well deserved win for the Roos.

    If you cast an eye over the Footy Almanac Footy Tipping you’ll notice another village idiot, Trucker Slim (hi) also picked your boys. My reasoning was that the Cats played as hard as they could play just to get across the line against the Hawks. They have had two tough games and I didn’t think they could do it again. Age wearies us all.

    The Hawks had a six day turnaround as well, and arguably a tougher assignment. But they didn’t exhibit the same sort of fatigue.

    This isn’t meant to be read as a point scoring exercise but to suggest that the signs are already there that the Cats will find the going tougher this year. When they are on fire (last quarter, last week) no one is going to beat them. I just wonder if they are going to be on fire as often this year as they have been in the last five.


  11. Craig Down says

    Congrats Smokie.

    I, for one Cat’s fan, am very pleased that the Roos beat us yesterday.

    One, they were terrific.

    Two, it sets us up, given past history, for a 157-odd point trouncing of the Tigers at home next week.


  12. Richard Naco says

    Best team won, and did so playing footy which was a great advert for the game.

    Best of all, this is only april, so the Catetrs have plenty of time to review, reload & return with all guns blazing.

    Kudos, Shinboners. (And it was more science, strength & speed far more than any mythical ‘spirit’.)

  13. Andrew Starkie says

    Smokie, it was a great day/night for the Rooboys. Bring on the Swannies.

  14. Andrew,

    I think a tequila slammer would wipe that smile off your face.

    1) Salt licked from the top of your hand

    2) Swallow tequila shot

    3) Bite a lemon wedge.

    Aaaahhh! The thought of you doing that makes me feel much better.

  15. Andrew Starkie says

    Phanto, you are a bad loser. Such an unappealing trait. The Roos are back buddy! The world’s a good place.

  16. I was just talking to the Tiger supporter with whom I watched the game yesterday Andrew.

    He commented on my calm and benevolent demeanor towards the victors.

    Surely there is not an impersonator Phantom who is bringing my name into disrepute.

    I think I might have to throw in a couple of Hail Mary’s with that Tequila slammer and definately no Holy water to wash the bad taste from your mouth.

  17. Well done, North, on a great win. The Kangas played with verve and nerve and style and were great to watch. Had a feeling they would win.
    Rick Kane – no comparisons with the Hawthorn vs Adelaide game, as the Hawks hadn’t travelled to Freo and back the week prior to playing Geelong.
    It’s about time North had a kinder run with the fixture – they have been unfairly fixed in seasons past. I think Brisbane have copped it this year: down and back to Melbourne, a five day break and played Carlton (who had a nine day recovery time) and then off to face Freo in the west. The speed of the game these days will tell on all who play and the fixture will come into its own – especially in terms of percentage.

  18. Josh Barnstable says

    A good day to be a North supporter.

  19. John Harms says

    Smoke, outstanding win to your boys. Dynamic. Even Carlton-ish. Similar in alot of ways: dominant ruckmen giving good supply to pacey on-ballers. Th e Cats, like the Pies, could not close down the space.

    I find it difficult to come up with words to describe B. Harvey. He’s best described as an irritant.

    I reckon you are entitled to claim a legitimate win in this case and I look forward to seeing how the Roos go over the coming weeks.

    Carlton were well-served by the conditions – firstly, it was a perfectly still dry night so easier to use the footy,and secondly, it was against Collingwood.

  20. Michael Crawford says

    Smokie, Nice win for the Roos. After the Roos play the Swans today will you still be ‘starting to believe’? Bring it on! Swans and the Roos – almost ‘match of the day’status. Who would have believed?

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