AFL 2019: North Melbourne – End of Season Report Card

Shaw the Redeemer

North’s Round One fixture against Fremantle was a remarkable one. North got belted, by Fremantle (yes, Ross Lyon Fremantle) to the tune of 82 points. The following rounds didn’t augur too well for the Roo’s faithful, finding themselves 2-7 before the circuit breaker in Brad Scott’s departure flicked open and Rhys Shaw took over, the latter finishing the year with a 7-5 win/loss record.

What Went Right?

The Roos’ were very ordinary at the beginning of the season, and the jungle drums were sounding Scott’s death march early. The (2019 buzz word of the year) circuit breaker opening when Shaw took the reigns certainly helped, with impressive wins against the Tigers, Hawks and Magpies.

The forward setup of the Roos was fairly strong, driven by good yields from Big Boner Brown (64 goals), and Cameron Zurhaar (26 goals), who proved to be one of the year’s surprise packets. Nick Larkey was also impressive, the youngster booting 26 goals from 17 outings.

What Went Wrong?

Honestly, that round 1 performance against Fremantle who traditionally, are as likely to kick a huge score as I am of completing Sober October (yeah, nah) was horrid. There can’t be too many other worse ways to kick off the season than what North dished up, and the losses piling up after that were salt in the wound.

North were ranked stone motherless in Kicks, marks and tackles per game – which is close enough to where they finished in those stats for 2018, a worrying trend, and one the Roos will be keen to reverse in 2020.

Best Win

Round 15 Vs Collingwood, 11.15 to 5.7

Footy boss Cam Joyce had departed early in the week and Taylor Garner was suspended following a bar fight, but the no-frills Roo’s managed a huge upset against the Pies, due largely in part to the team’s spiritual leaders in Cunnington (37 touches at 87% and 7 clearances) and Ziebell (25d, 3 goals) playing out of their skins to set the tone early.

The final scoreline was probably a little flattering for the pies – Brown was unable to make the most of his chances, finishing with 0.4, and Wood had similar problems, finishing with 1.3, had they converted it could’ve been a whole lot uglier for the Pies.

Standout Performer

Liam Gallagher’s haircut was cheap this time around.

Ben Cunnington has a last name that lends itself to a swear word. (tenuously, sure) That word, when talking of Ben, would normally be prefixed by the word “hard”. Ben Cunnington is an extremely hard erm.. footballer. Other things he is called are: Beast, bull, battering ram and for alliteration’s sake, Ben.

Ranked 3rd in total centre clerances, 5th in total contested possies and 3rd in total clearances – his stats underpin his deserved status as a hard..footballer, and a true representative of that shinboner spirit.

Brutal Ben was at his belligerently brave best as mentioned above against Collingwood, but he showed it again in North’s win over Port Adelaide at Marvel in round 22, amassing 37 touches and 9 clearances, this despite only 70% game time.

Grade – C

After a dismal start, and after sacking Chris Scott’s equally sooky brother, the Roos’ rallied and made some amends. A pass at the very least

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