MELBOURNE 11.4 (70) d NORTH MELBOURNE 10.7 (67)

North’s Broken Hearts

For the second week in a row, North Melbourne had their hearts broken, this time losing by three points. Whereas last week they could not protect a 54-point lead, tonight they fell just short of running down a deficit which had stretched to 39 points deep in the third term. The Kangas booted the final six goals of the game, and held the Dees scoreless in the final quarter. After whittling the gap to three points, they had just under four minutes to find the winning goal, but the siren blew with the ball deep in their forward line. Moments earlier, Luke Davies-Uniacke had a ball burst through his hands on 50 though perhaps he could have been called back by a teammate. Kangas fans will have left the MCG flat but unlike the first half of the season when their side was routinely hammered they can see progress.

Max Gawn of the Demons and Cameron Zurhaar of the Kangaroos compete for the ball.

Max Gawn of the Demons and Cameron Zurhaar of the Kangaroos compete for the ball.Credit: AFL Photos

May Staging

Umpiring is a difficult job. Sure, my experience does not go beyond putting on the virtual reality goggles for game simulation during a tour of the ARC this week, but there are so many things they are looking for, they do not need players making it even harder like Steven May did. Tackled to the ground by Eddie Ford in a tackle after being spun around 720 degrees, May’s head hit the turf in a second motion that appeared to have little to do with the North player’s action. May then grabbed at his head, as if he had been hurt, and was awarded a free kick for a dangerous tackle.

Was Steven May guilty of staging against the Kangaroos?

Was Steven May guilty of staging against the Kangaroos?Credit: Fox Footy

Oliver’s Hard Tag

Clayton Oliver is going to have every bit of his character tested in the run home. The tag is back in vogue, and if this game is any guide, Oliver will have a target on his jumper from opposition coaches. The star onballer was driven batty by Will Phillips, who limited Oliver to just 14 possessions while getting 12 himself. Granted, Oliver is playing well below the levels he reached at his peak but he still shapes as their most damaging midfielder in Petracca’s absence. Wherever Oliver went, Phillips was there with an arm across his side. Instead of pushing and shoving, Oliver needed to take a leaf out of Nick Daicos’s book. The Collingwood superstar ran Phillips into the ground, including a mega third quarter when he did not leave the field, to the point where North subbed out their man. It cleared the way for Daicos to win the game. Oliver, though, does not have Daicos’s running capacity and, coming off a severly interrupted preseason, would arguably be below his top fitness levels. The frustration told on Oliver, who gave away five free kicks, including one off the ball when Melbourne had possession. Seeing how well it worked, Oliver can expect more to come in the run home.

Clayton Oliver of the Demons and George Wardlaw of the Kangaroos wrestle.

Clayton Oliver of the Demons and George Wardlaw of the Kangaroos wrestle.Credit: Getty Images

KEY STATS

Thanks so much for joining us today and this evening.

We will be back tomorrow afternoon with our AFL Sunday blog, so please join us then keep visiting our website for more AFL news and features.

Thanks again and bye for now.

A blur: Tristan Xerri of the Kangaroos and Max Gawn of the Demons compete in a ruck contest.

A blur: Tristan Xerri of the Kangaroos and Max Gawn of the Demons compete in a ruck contest.Credit: AFL Photos via Getty Images

Demons coach Simon Goodwin spoke to the media post game.

Close finish to the match?

Credit to North Melbourne. They played an outstanding last quarter. They had never give up attitude and found their way back into the game so credit goes to them into the game so credit goes to them in credit for our guys as well. You got tight and we were able to find enough winning moments late in the game to come up with a result but got three quarters, it was starting to look more like the way we want to play and certainly not perfect, by any stretch but it’s heading there.

Daniel Turner of the Demons is tackled by Charlie Comben of the Kangaroos.

Daniel Turner of the Demons is tackled by Charlie Comben of the Kangaroos.Credit: Getty Images

What do you think changed when you lost control a bit in the final term?

We lost centre bounced, lost stoppage, their pressure was outstanding and they won contest. That was a big part of the game on the night. It was really contested game, a tough and high-pressure game of footy and when they start to dominate those sort of stats in a quarter, the momentum of the game is going to shift and you’re going to give them territory. You going to give them territory. You going to give the maximum opportunity to score and they took it. As I said, credit 20. They are side we’ve seen in the last three weeks certainly playing some really strong footy in this competition is really tough. We had to fight for everything we’ve got tonight and we walk away with a win which we are really proud of and we will keep forging ahead with our season.

Late in the game, you’re trying to find the goal that’s going to put it to bed or are you trying to put it to bed or are you trying to save it?

Well there’s different times in the quarter, certainly in last few minutes when you up like that, you are trying to save the game. Certainly not trying to save it too long out. You still want and need to score to win the game and a bit of that certainly driving the last half. So we need to have a look at that and make sure you’re in a position where we can score but our DNA of how we defend was really strong for the majority of the night except for the last quarter which was driven to contest and stoppage.

Your debutante Kynan Brown, played 10 minutes and lays a matchwinning tackle.

Brilliant, wasn’t it. That’s what the boys love about him. He’s a great teammate and it’s big reason why we picked him. Is a competitor who works really hard at his game and when he came onto lay a tackle in that moment, you could see the joy and celebration with his teammates, and what it meant. He got a pretty special award next door for us. We want to recognise those type of acts and that was one that we will celebrate, definitely.

The four premiership points, getting extra points from winning tonight but tell me sort of about the importance of a morale and spirit point of view of winning tonight after the two weeks that clubbers had?

It’s really important. Obviously when you come off the bye, it gave us a great chance to reset as a club and look at where we are at and where we want to go and how were going to attack the season and any time you can get a win and build belief within your walls is important and tonight was an important step in that. We think we still got a lot of footy left in us this year. We still got a lot of optimism about where we could go and what we could do. But we need to start improving as the year goes on now and we are one game post bye. We had a win so we will build on that and as I said, certainly wasn’t perfect, but we are proud of what we did tonight in terms of getting a result.

Demons skipper Max Gawn has dared Brisbane to underestimate his side ahead of their clash at the Gabba in six days time.

“We’re pretty excited to get up to Brisbane to be honest – I’m not sure too many people will be backing as I think they got over the line by 80 or 90 points today against a side [Port Adelaide] that is in the eight,” Gawn told Fox Footy.

“They are running hot and have beaten us the last three or four times. I reckon Brisbane might think they have the wood over us but we are pretty excited to get up there and show them what we have got.”

MELBOURNE 11.4 (70) d NORTH MELBOURNE 10.7 (67)

North’s Broken Hearts

For the second week in a row, North Melbourne had their hearts broken, this time losing by three points. Whereas last week they could not protect a 54-point lead, tonight they fell just short of running down a deficit which had stretched to 39 points deep in the third term. The Kangas booted the final six goals of the game, and held the Dees scoreless in the final quarter. After whittling the gap to three points, they had just under four minutes to find the winning goal, but the siren blew with the ball deep in their forward line. Moments earlier, Luke Davies-Uniacke had a ball burst through his hands on 50 though perhaps he could have been called back by a teammate. Kangas fans will have left the MCG flat but unlike the first half of the season when their side was routinely hammered they can see progress.

Max Gawn of the Demons and Cameron Zurhaar of the Kangaroos compete for the ball.

Max Gawn of the Demons and Cameron Zurhaar of the Kangaroos compete for the ball.Credit: AFL Photos

May Staging

Umpiring is a difficult job. Sure, my experience does not go beyond putting on the virtual reality goggles for game simulation during a tour of the ARC this week, but there are so many things they are looking for, they do not need players making it even harder like Steven May did. Tackled to the ground by Eddie Ford in a tackle after being spun around 720 degrees, May’s head hit the turf in a second motion that appeared to have little to do with the North player’s action. May then grabbed at his head, as if he had been hurt, and was awarded a free kick for a dangerous tackle.

Was Steven May guilty of staging against the Kangaroos?

Was Steven May guilty of staging against the Kangaroos?Credit: Fox Footy

Oliver’s Hard Tag

Clayton Oliver is going to have every bit of his character tested in the run home. The tag is back in vogue, and if this game is any guide, Oliver will have a target on his jumper from opposition coaches. The star onballer was driven batty by Will Phillips, who limited Oliver to just 14 possessions while getting 12 himself. Granted, Oliver is playing well below the levels he reached at his peak but he still shapes as their most damaging midfielder in Petracca’s absence. Wherever Oliver went, Phillips was there with an arm across his side. Instead of pushing and shoving, Oliver needed to take a leaf out of Nick Daicos’s book. The Collingwood superstar ran Phillips into the ground, including a mega third quarter when he did not leave the field, to the point where North subbed out their man. It cleared the way for Daicos to win the game. Oliver, though, does not have Daicos’s running capacity and, coming off a severly interrupted preseason, would arguably be below his top fitness levels. The frustration told on Oliver, who gave away five free kicks, including one off the ball when Melbourne had possession. Seeing how well it worked, Oliver can expect more to come in the run home.

Clayton Oliver of the Demons and George Wardlaw of the Kangaroos wrestle.

Clayton Oliver of the Demons and George Wardlaw of the Kangaroos wrestle.Credit: Getty Images

KEY STATS

Demons first-gamer Kynan Brown was only on the field for a little under 15 minutes but he came up with one of the plays of the game with his chase down tackle on Nick Larkey in the final minutes.

Brown spoke to Channel Seven post game.

Kynan, he came in late and we were waiting for you to get subbed into the game. You are down eventually and you had an impact straight away. Talk as to that amazing game saving tackle?

I don’t know, it was a great moment. Just thought this could be my moment and just got him.

You’ve grown up barracking for this club. Coming to the club every weekend watching your old man, how proud are you to put on a jumper tonight?

It meant so much to be so it’s just been a dream come true. That last quarter, just amazing. A great experience in general.

Tell us about your game and what you think your attributes are at AFL level that you can impacts?

I really value my speed, agility and my workrate. Isolate my running capacity is something I really value in my game and just my contest work too.

Are they going to make you play for Casey [VFL] again this week?

We’ll see what happens.

Max Gawn spoke to Channel Seven’s Campbell Brown post game.

Max Gawn, you are absolutely exhausted, you worked yourself into the ground.

Big Tristan brought it tonight. He is a physical guy. It was a tough, solid night. We played our best footy in the quarter for a long time in the third, but they came hard late. With five minutes to go there was a kick in it so once they got back that margin, we had to play the last five minutes. But glad we were able to hold up.

Max Gawn of the Demons leads his team out.

Max Gawn of the Demons leads his team out.Credit: Getty Images

Do you get frustrated with your consistency from quarter to quarter? First cordial kicking five, third quarter, five in the second quarter, one and then you don’t score in the last?

It’s hard and AFL footy. Were trying to find our consistent best but at times we just been challenged too much by opposition teams. At times we haven’t had our best contest in defence and offence and were up against solid opposition every week. North are in hot form at the moment. Brisbane we have in six days in unbelievable form at the moment. Everybody comes so hard switching to find our best footy and we collect were close but not there yet.

Is a massive efforts late in the game to save it. Kynan Brown’s inspirational tackle. McVee out the far side and the smother. Big moments from young kids.

Kynan, not sure what time he came on but I saw it on the scoreboard. Didn’t see him for a while but saw him in the chase down tackle. McVee, when you think of the back pocket, you think of someone who is tough and rugged, who is a little contest beast. He is that but he’s also silky, and to be able to run that play, you’re probably silky as well, Campbell, but to see those young guys stand up late, that’s pretty inspirational as a skipper.

The Demons have hung on to beat North Melbourne by just three points.

The Roos made a stunning comeback in the last term but they ended up paying dearly for their missed chances in the first half.

Max Gawn was huge for the Demons.

In his first game, Kynan Brown has chased down Nick Larkey and tackled him before he could kick the ball deep into the forward line.

Holding the ball was called.

90 seconds left.

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