How to beat Melbourne, in four not-so-easy steps May 17, 2022
9-0 in 2022. 16 wins in a row stretching back to late 2021. 31 wins and a draw from their last 36 matches. Melbourne are a juggernaut.
From The Notebook: Round 9 May 16, 2022
Nine rounds down, and already Melbourne have a two-game break inside the top two.
Round 9 v Port Adelaide: Spinning the wheel May 15, 2022
In the absence of Jy Simpkin, Jason Horne-Francis, and Hugh Greenwood, it was a different looking North Melbourne midfield on Saturday.
What To Watch For: Round 9 May 12, 2022
We’re back for another round, and the stat packs are here to stay.
North Melbourne’s offensive woes explained, and how to start fixing them May 10, 2022
What if I told you North Melbourne are on pace to become the worst offensive team in the 21st century?
From The Notebook: Round 8 May 9, 2022
Every so often there’ll be a single theme for the Notebook. Today is one of those days, focusing on key forwards.
Round 8 v Fremantle: Looking back, thinking ahead May 7, 2022
As a teenager, I spent plenty of winter Saturday afternoons at Vermont Reserve, watching the Eagles kick goal after goal and notch win after win.
What To Watch For: Round 8 May 6, 2022
It’s something a little different in this week’s What To Watch For.
From The Notebook: Round 7, 2022 May 2, 2022
It’s a three-topic Notebook this week: one individual, one team, and one speculative thought bubble…
Round 7 v Carlton: Positives, negatives, and impossible judgments May 1, 2022
What a difficult game to form a conclusive opinion on.
What To Watch For: Round 7 April 28, 2022
It’s a Sunday Special this week, with all three games for the day covered: Collingwood v Gold Coast, Western Bulldogs v Essendon and Sydney v Brisbane.
From The Notebook: Round 6, 2022 April 26, 2022
Our first six rounds of spaced out matches have ended, and we’re about to head into at least a five-week block of traditional Friday to Sunday congestion.
Round 6 v Geelong: Revisiting April 25, 2022
North Melbourne’s 60-point loss to Geelong brought a number of talking points, but today’s post is going to be streamlined.
What To Watch For: Round 6 April 22, 2022
It could be a level-setting round for a handful of teams, one where we’re able to establish baseline expectations for the short to medium term this year.
North Melbourne’s building blocks in the VFL April 20, 2022
If you know what to look for and what translates to AFL football, the VFL is an excellent place to fast track knowledge and identify trends before most.
From The Notebook: Round 5, 2022 April 18, 2022
We’re building to a period where there could be several breakout topics in quick succession. Until then though, it’s a trusty regulation format for the Notebook this week.
Round 5 v Western Bulldogs: Groundhog Day April 16, 2022
Today’s post is going to focus on a common theme in this matchup, but so rarely do we get two complete opposite quarters to illustrate several key points.
What To Watch For: Round 5 April 15, 2022
It’s time for Round 5’s What To Watch For. It’s a two-game slate today, with words on both Sydney and Fremantle.
A curtain, a banner, and why Friday is so important for North Melbourne April 14, 2022
The point of this story is to illustrate how important free-to-air games are for North Melbourne…
From The Notebook: Round 4, 2022 April 11, 2022
How are everyone’s tips? As mediocre as mine?
Round 4 v Sydney: Responding April 10, 2022
There is a hell of a lot to talk about today, thankfully much more positive than last week.
What To Watch For: Round 4 April 8, 2022
Today’s What To Watch For covers Geelong v Brisbane, Essendon v Adelaide and Hawthorn v St Kilda.
Why are Port Adelaide 0-3? April 5, 2022
Sometimes it’s easy to spot the potential of a slow start. Then there are instances like Port Adelaide.
From The Notebook: Round 3, 2022 April 4, 2022
What a whirlwind weekend. There was actually too much happening to fit in one Notebook.
Round 3 v Brisbane: Rock Bottom April 2, 2022
The general tone for the first two-thirds of this post may not match the mood in the outer, so let’s start with an explanation for why.
What To Watch For: Round 3, 2022 April 1, 2022
A vital weekend for a bunch of teams.
From The Notebook: Round 2, 2022 March 28, 2022
In (trying to) analyse games, a part I always enjoy is watching key passages of play twice.
Round 2 v West Coast: Expectations March 28, 2022
Walking into Marvel Stadium on Sunday, I had flashbacks to Round 10, 2016 v Essendon.
What To Watch For: Round 2, 2022 March 25, 2022
Round 2’s ‘What To Watch For’, exclusive for $7.50 & $10 Patrons.
Real Or Not? Two Round 1 Talking Points March 22, 2022
Today’s focuses are the Bulldogs and Gold Coast for one of my favourite parts of the season; attempting to nail predictions based on one weekend of action.
From The Notebook: Round 1, 2022 March 21, 2022
The first in-season Notebook of the year is here, with plenty to talk about.
Round 1 v Hawthorn: Small picture, big picture March 21, 2022
Just a little bit to cover off today…
What To Watch For: Round 1, 2022 March 18, 2022
Welcome to the very first edition of What To Watch For, exclusive to $7.50 and $10 Patrons.
2022 Team Tiers March 15, 2022
Why sort teams into tiers and not a ladder like normal people? Well, two reasons…
North Melbourne’s 2022 checklist March 14, 2022
Before the first bounce on Sunday it’s important to set a bar for what I’ll be expecting from 2022.
Preconceived Notions: The Start Of 2022 March 11, 2022
This is either going to end up being fun or embarrassing.
From The Notebook: 2022 Pre Season March 7, 2022
Before a look ahead to Round 1, there are plenty of takeaways from the pre season.
AAMI Series, 2022 v Sydney: Tuning up March 7, 2022
The pre-season has been a valuable learning tool to hit Round 1 v Hawthorn running.
The 2022 AFL Continuity Rankings February 23, 2022
At this time of the year, with season previews popping up left, right and centre, there tends to be a few trusty cliches involved.
Starting a new era February 21, 2022
New year = announcement time. I’m launching a Patreon for the 2022 season, from March 1 to October 31.
2021 Club By Club List Management Tools September 16, 2021
For a while I’ve been trying to figure out how to create as many impartial, simple-to-understand tools when attempting to analyse an AFL list. Things that you can look at and instantly glean unbiased knowledge from.
How the Western Bulldogs turned it around September 13, 2021
Three weeks ago the Western Bulldogs were in trouble. Big trouble. A midfield, supposed to be their edge over the competition, was falling apart and much of their hard work earlier in the season had been squandered.
Round 23 v Adelaide: The next steps as a year of discovery ends August 23, 2021
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?
From The Notebook: A worrying Western Bulldogs slump August 16, 2021
Of all the times for a strength to turn in to a weakness, a fortnight out from finals is no-one’s choice and out of nowhere that’s where the Western Bulldogs find themselves.
Round 22 v Sydney: A wooden spoon locked in, future pieces come together August 15, 2021
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.
Why Josh Kelly staying at GWS is good for North Melbourne August 10, 2021
When Josh Kelly’s eight-year extension at GWS was announced on Tuesday evening, my instinctive reaction was ‘happy with that’. That was immediately followed by something along the lines of, ‘am I insane being happy with Josh Kelly not at North Melbourne?’
Round 18 v Essendon: Improving in the sun July 18, 2021
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.
Round 17 v West Coast: Small ticks graduate to a big tick July 13, 2021
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.
From The Notebook: Round 17 July 12, 2021
A slightly different structure to today’s edition of the Notebook, with two main observations followed by a string of mini-thoughts…
From The Notebook: Round 16 July 5, 2021
Today’s Notebook covers Patrick Dangerfield, Melbourne’s continuing forward dilemmas and what to make of West Coast away from home.
Round 16 v Western Bulldogs: A look back in the process forward July 5, 2021
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.
From The Notebook: Round 15 June 28, 2021
A two-topic Notebook this week. First it’s all about Brisbane’s forward spacing, and then a dive into what’s changed at Richmond over the last month.
Round 15 v Gold Coast: A deserved win and reward for effort June 27, 2021
A much deserved win is just reward for the constant improvement we’re seeing from North Melbourne week on week.
Round 14 v Brisbane: Luke McDonald, a winger’s role, and flexibility June 20, 2021
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.
From The Notebook: Round 13 June 14, 2021
For how the round looked on paper leading in, it turned out to be quite entertaining in reality. A draw, two more games decided by a kick, Nathan Buckley’s Collingwood farewell and a ripper in Adelaide which kicked things all off.
Round 13 v GWS: Steps forward, points lost June 14, 2021
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.
From The Notebook: Round 12 June 7, 2021
Instead of the usual team focus in the Notebook, today’s edition will be all about some individual player analysis.
Halfway through ‘Season 1’, what have North Melbourne learned June 4, 2021
At the halfway point of North Melbourne’s season, it feels like a natural time to reset and reflect on what we’ve learned so far.
From The Notebook: Round 11 May 31, 2021
The halfway point of the season! It’s a large edition of the Notebook to mark the milestone, with a number of topics covered.
Round 11 v St Kilda: The halfway point May 30, 2021
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.
Round 10 v Essendon: Defend fast May 24, 2021
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.
From The Notebook, Round 9 May 17, 2021
On the agenda this week: Gold Coast’s terrible third quarter, the Western Bulldogs’ maturity, and a starting point for Melbourne’s forward trio.
Round 9 v Hawthorn: Problem solving May 16, 2021
Forgive me if I’m a little bit rusty today, I looked up the manual on how to write about a North Melbourne win and it had been so long all the ink had faded out.
From The Notebook, Round 8: Geelong’s ‘stretching’ ball movement May 10, 2021
A slight detour from the script for this week’s Notebook, with a single-topic focus on Geelong’s method of moving the ball against Richmond.
Round 8 v Collingwood: A monthly player check-in May 9, 2021
After the first player progress report a few weeks ago proved to be popular, and given the requests for individuals since, it’s now going to become a monthly thing for the rest of the season.
From The Notebook: Round 7 May 3, 2021
As promised last week, it’s an all-positive edition of the Notebook, featuring Richmond and Liam Baker, the Suns and Izak Rankine, along with Brisbane’s favourable matchup against Port Adelaide.
Round 7 v Melbourne: A clear sign of progress May 3, 2021
Although wind in Hobart makes for an exponentially funnier game, from a long-term development perspective it was great for it to take a rare Sunday off.
Melbourne rising: What’s behind the Demons’ unbeaten start to 2021? April 29, 2021
6-0 for the first time since 1965, comfortable wins over last year’s premiers and runner up, a defensive setup humming in all areas and genuine belief coursing through the playing group.
From The Notebook: Round 6 April 26, 2021
Six weeks into the season, we’re at the stage where trends we see are more likely to be legitimate. Today it’s all about West Coast, set shots, Carlton’s defence and St Kilda’s form.
Round 6 v Fremantle: Spread and defend April 25, 2021
Today’s post is all about midfield structure; unfortunately one which broke down far too often for North Melbourne against Fremantle around stoppages and contests.
From The Notebook, Round 5 April 19, 2021
On the agenda for Round 5: West Coast’s efficiency, Josh Kelly’s game-winning goal, and Fremantle’s adjustments against Adelaide.
Round 5 v Geelong: Focusing on individuals April 19, 2021
A change of pace today, with the Round 5 post focusing on a handful of individuals and their progress…
Round 4 v Adelaide: Building a midfield April 12, 2021
It’s fair to say coach David Noble is firmly in experimental mode, and will be for some time yet. On Sunday we saw the newest lever pulled.
From The Notebook: Round 3 April 5, 2021
How Daniel Rich found so much space is on the agenda, along with what Sydney’s win over Richmond means and a few mini-thoughts about Melbourne, Geelong and West Coast.
Round 3 v Western Bulldogs: The anatomy of a 128-point loss April 3, 2021
Where to start? The short version is all the negative parts of the first two weeks coalesced into an unstoppable snowball. The long version … well. Here we go.
From The Notebook: Round 2 March 29, 2021
A fortnight in to 2021 and we’ve already been gifted a contender for match of the season, Sunday afternoon’s clash between the Western Bulldogs and West Coast a pulsating encounter.
Round 2 v Gold Coast: The effect of an incomplete forward system March 28, 2021
Let’s step away from the football field for a moment. Every day, whether it be at work, social circles, spare time, or anything in between, we’re all aiming to achieve something.
From The Notebook, Round 1: Are these trends real? March 22, 2021
One of the most enjoyable parts of Round 1 is looking at trends to figure out what will stick, and what’s a mirage.
Round 1 v Port Adelaide: The different ways to lose March 22, 2021
Given North Melbourne’s current status, it’s too simplistic to look at weekends as win = good, loss = bad.
In a year of discovery, what will North Melbourne look for March 10, 2021
It’s hardly revealing a state secret in saying North Melbourne won’t be playing deep into September this year, which makes it the perfect time to throw things at the wall to see what sticks.
North Melbourne’s 2020 off-season, and what comes next December 10, 2020
Just a little bit has happened since the end of North Melbourne’s 2020 campaign. Coach change, significant list changes, essentially a whole remodel.
How to survive the 2020 AFL Trade Period October 30, 2020
Welcome to the 2020 AFL Trade Period. Here are a series of tips and tricks for how to survive it without losing your mind.
2020 Finals Dossier: Richmond Tigers September 25, 2020
This dossier is a little different to the previous three. There’s next to no point detailing how Richmond plays, because everyone knows that.
2020 Finals Dossier: Port Adelaide September 24, 2020
Despite finishing on top of the ladder, with the second most points scored, the fewest conceded and the biggest inside 50 differential in the league, the Power sit a distant fourth in premiership favouritism.
2020 Finals Dossier: Geelong Cats September 23, 2020
Although the home and away ladder position – from top to fourth – and recent form – a heavy loss to Richmond and squeaking by Sydney – may not show it, Geelong is an improved team from 2019.
2020 Finals Dossier: Brisbane Lions September 22, 2020
This week I’ll be looking at each of the top four sides and the legitimacy of their premiership contention in the 2nd Annual Finals Dossiers. First up, it’s Brisbane.
The next steps for North Melbourne after 11 delistings September 19, 2020
With a remarkable 11 delistings, a quarter of North’s list disappeared in one fell swoop. To cut this deep, this early appears to mean plenty more wheeling and dealing to come.
Line By Line: North Melbourne’s midfield September 14, 2020
It’s time for week three of the line-by-line look at North Melbourne. First it was the forwards, then the defenders, and finally a look at the midfield.
Round 16 v Port Adelaide: Summing up North Melbourne’s defence September 6, 2020
Over the final month of the season, I’ll be using each game to look at a separate line of the field. Round 14 was all about the forwards, Round 16 is all about the defenders.
Round 14 v Gold Coast: The importance of forward pressure August 31, 2020
Considering North Melbourne just lost by 63 points with only seven fewer inside 50s, it seems an opportune time to focus on just what happens when there’s minimal forward pressure
Round 13 v Collingwood: Individual player focus August 25, 2020
Of the 22 North Melbourne players who ran out onto the Gabba on Monday night, 10 are out of contract at the end of this season.
From The Notebook: Round 13 August 24, 2020
Schedule losses, an unusually deep defence and contrasts between good and bad kick-mark feature in Round 13’s Notebook.
From The Notebook: Round 12 August 18, 2020
Unbelievably, we now have to endure three whole days without football, which is disgraceful. But at the end of 20 consecutive days with football, we may be starting to see some ladder separation.
Round 12 v Brisbane: Setting a standard August 16, 2020
First things first, an apology for no post last week. Thankfully there’s a post this week with plenty to discuss both from a team and individual perspective.
From The Notebook: Round 11 August 13, 2020
Another two excellent matches in Round 11, even with the compressed schedule, leads us into a handful of vital clashes in Round 12. But before then, what caught the eye over the last few days.
From The Notebook: Round 10 August 8, 2020
Halfway through FootyMania, there’s plenty to take in as we approach the home stretch building towards finals.
Round 10 v Geelong: Caught on their heels August 6, 2020
As we hit rotation season, with games being played nine times a week and broadcast for 37 hours a day, individual performances become tough to judge.
From The Notebook: Round 9 August 3, 2020
We’re at roughly the halfway mark of this topsy-turvy season and the ladder is starting to take shape.
Round 9 v Adelaide: Releasing the pressure August 2, 2020
It turns out when your opposition is extremely poor, there’s plenty of insight for what the optimum version of your own side looks like.
From The Notebook: Round 8 July 28, 2020
Let the madness begin. In 20 days we’ll likely have a clear view of what separates the top four from the top eight, and the race for the eight from the also-rans.