NORTH MELBOURNE 4.5 9.5 16.8 20.11 (131)
GEELONG 1.3 5.8 9.14 16.18 (114)
The latest edition of the Brad and Chris Scott challenge has seen North Melbourne finally claim the top four scalp that has eluded them for so long. Geelong entered this match with a six-day break after a bruising encounter with Hawthorn in the wet, whilst North’s had a luxurious eight days following their glorified training run against an uncompetitive Greater Western Sydney – and it showed.
From the outset the Kangaroos looked to be the fresher side, with Daniel Wells and Ryan Bastinac finding plenty of the ball through the middle. The pair were in no small way responsible for North’s flying start, and with Brent Harvey doing as he pleased playing lose across half-back, the Kangaroos played all over the Cats with a four goal to one first quarter.
Geelong tried to stretch the slightly undersized North Melbourne defence by playing Tom Hawkins, James Podsiadly and a resting ruckman in the forward 50.
However, Luke Delaney, Scott Thompson, and Michael Furrito collectively controlled their influence when the ascendancy was on the line in the first half.
The Cats were unusually scrappy when in possession which continually presented North with opportunities on the rebound, and the Kangas happily accepted.
The most telling aspect was the difference in the running ability of the two sides on the night. The faster style of end-to-end footy that Etihad often produces, saw North’s running players take full advantage.
All evening the North ran harder offensively on the spread than their more reputable counter parts, which opened up space on the wings and created an overlap that Geelong couldn’t match. Just as importantly, they ran harder defensively when the Cats were on the move.
If the GPS results for this match are ever released by the clubs, you can bet that North Melbourne covered a lot more ground than Geelong.
Another positive for North was their ability to pile on 20 goals, especially considering that Drew Petrie was held to a single behind by Harry Taylor.
Aaron Edwards filled the gap with his hard leading style producing four goals straight, and Jack Ziebell and Bastinac surged forward to snag four each. Hamish McIntosh proved the most effective target for the long ball, taking eight marks and kicking 2.2.
Geelong’s superior talent showed at various points throughout the game as the Kanga’s struggled to shake them off until time-on in the last quarter.
However, their emphatically superior work rate and cleaner ball use eventually saw them record an impressive 17 point victory.
3- Brent Harvey
2 – Daniel Wells
1 – Jack Zeibell
North Melbourne: Edwards 4, Bastinac 4, Ziebell 4, Adams 2, McIntosh 2, Anthony, Thomas, Harvey, Harper
Geelong: Podsiadly 5, Hawkins 4, Motlop 2, Gillies, Horlin-Smith, Byrnes, Taylor, Guthrie
North Melbourne: Harvey, Bastinac, Wells, Ziebell, Wright Edwards, Firrito, McIntosh
Geelong: Podsiadly, Taylor, Selwood, Bartel, Kelly, T.Hunt
Umpires: Stevic, Jennings, Mollison
Crowd: 29,630 at Etihad Stadium