In pre-season, it was termed as a year of discovery. Now we’re at the end of it – from an on-field perspective at least – what have North Melbourne come away with?
So, North Melbourne have a wooden spoon for the first time since 1972. And everyone will react differently, but mine is a world apart from 2017 and 2020 where finishing bottom was a live possibility at the start of the last round.
A fortnight ago the match post was comparing this year’s games against the Bulldogs, and today’s will be much the same with Essendon with a near-exclusive focus on the first half.
For North Melbourne to go to Perth with a clear plan, withstand a barrage, execute down to a tee and earn the four points is an enormous tick in a year which had a lot of small tickets up until this point.
Sunday evening marked the first time North had played an opponent twice at the same venue under David Noble, making it another important step in the process of learning about the team.
A much deserved win is just reward for the constant improvement we’re seeing from North Melbourne week on week.
Luke McDonald's return to action was interestingly marked by a new role on the wing. David Noble's post-match comments on it revealed some fascinating possibilities.
A largely uneventful afternoon at Hobart, only featuring North Melbourne jumping out to a five-goal lead at three quarter time, getting reeled back in, plenty of notable talking points from siren to siren and it all ending with North’s first draw since Round 16, 2009 ... actually, maybe there's a fair bit to talk about.
For the game which marked the halfway point of 2021, a focus on three topics – Bailey Scott’s role, Tom Campbell v Tristan Xerri, and what the forward setup could (or should) look like down the road.
How do you defend against fast play? That was the task which confronted North Melbourne on Sunday, and one they ultimately failed on route to a 72-point loss against Essendon.