Coming off the heels of a last-minute loss to Geelong after giving up a 41-point lead, North Melbourne travelled to Hobart for a date with the reigning premiers, Sydney.
In the loss against the Cats we established the first theme of 2013; North throwing away control due to their own actions.
Against the Swans, North were again playing well – albeit not with the same scoreboard ascendancy – but this time the result was ripped away in a different fashion.
Although this tends to be a lesser remembered, if not forgotten match from North’s season, how it unfolded provided the second established theme of the year.
If you’ve missed the explanation for why there are posts about North Melbourne’s 2013 season, you can catch up on what you’ve missed with:
Sydney kicked 11.4.70 in the third quarter. Their highest scoring third quarter since 1987, and their best quarter of any description since 1995.
Yet with six minutes remaining in the term, they’d ‘only’ kicked five goals. Make no mistake, North were still on the back foot defending but the deficit was a manageable 10 points. Get out of the quarter without much more damage and the game was up for grabs in the final quarter.
Instead, when the siren went for three quarter time, Sydney led by forty-seven points.
In the final six minutes of the term, North had a grand total of four possessions in their forward half. Three were turnovers, and the fourth was in mid-air when the siren sounded.
Everything broke down at once, and most of it only needs freeze frames to explain.
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For the first goal, here’s Lewis Jetta hanging out goal side of a contest with zero pressure around him. He receives a handball and cruises into a shot on the run from 45 metres out:
For the second goal, here’s Jarrad McVeigh as the ball enters Sydney’s forward 50 with no-one looking at him. Then as Sam Reid circles around, McVeigh still on his own pleading for the ball and an easy set shot.
On to the third goal. Firstly, no eyes on Jude Bolton as Sydney gain possession and clear from a throw in, which is an important part to emphasise. The clearance goes inside 50, hits the ground, and surprise – there’s Bolton by himself coasting onto the loose ball and an easy goal.
Now the fourth goal; here’s Adam Goodes as the ball is in mid-air with a number of players between him and a goal-threatening position.
And there’s Goodes receiving a handball as he strolls through those same number of players. It leads to a handball at a wide open Andrejs Everitt and another simple goal.
For the fifth goal, Ben McGlynn’s in a non-threatening position as Josh Kennedy’s kick skews off the side of his boot. 10 seconds later he’s all on his own, on the end of a handball from Goodes before snapping a superb goal.
Finally, the sixth goal, a coup de grace as all semblance of structure disappears everywhere. As two Roos spoil each other, Bolton peels away from the pack unnoticed.
Then as Kennedy collects the loose ball, Ryan O’Keefe stands unattended to receive the handball and eventually get it over the top to Bolton.
Reid, who was at the contest just a moment ago, strolls past to be a part of the chain as if it’s a standard training drill.
Then, poor Scott McMahon is stranded on an island one-on-one against Goodes with a kick weighted to the latter’s advantage. Here’s how it all unfolded:
Eight inside 50s for six goals, a match gone in the blink of an eye as North looked completely helpless to stem the flow.
Through the first three rounds, all against teams which would finish in the top six, North had shown plenty of promise – for no reward.
In particular during Round 2 and 3, we saw avoidable errors and a team seemingly powerless to slow a game down. Combine the two and it makes for a dangerous cocktail…
Next: A good news post! How North were able to take it up to a Hawthorn side who were almost unstoppable in 2013. Except for games against Geelong, because it’s Geelong. And an out-of-nowhere game against Richmond in the rain. But apart from that, unstoppable.