2019 in a Nutshell
In 2019 North Melbourne had a horror start to the season winning only one of their first nine games. The Majak Daw incident in December was a shock to the Club and cast a shadow, which affected all associated. His miraculous recovery, he was able to make it back to the VFL just a few weeks before the season was out, was uplifting to all.
North was then surprised by an announcement that Brad Scott had made to step down from the club, to give them a chance to plan for the future without him. North was able to hold strong and win for the coach’s last game. Then enter Rhyce Shaw as caretaker coach, North seemed rejuvenated, looking like a different team winning six out of 11 games. It was enough to convince the North Melbourne Panel to appoint him as senior coach.
2020 Playing List
1. Majak Daw, 2. Marley Williams, 3. Jed Anderson, 4. Shaun Higgins, 5. Ben Jacobs, 6. Taylor Garner, 7. Jack Ziebell, 8. Bailey Scott, 9. Luke Davies-Uniacke, 10. Ben Cunnington, 11. Luke McDonald, 12. Jy Simpkin, 13. Jared Polec, 14. Trent Dumont, 15. Paul Ahern, 16. Aiden Bonar, 17. Jasper Pittard, 18. Shaun Atley, 19. Josh Walker, 20 Nick Larkey, 21. Dom Tyson, 22. Todd Goldstein, 23. Ben McKay, 24. Sam Durdin, 25. Robbie Tarrant, 26. Tarryn Thomas, 27. Will Walker, 28. Kayne Turner, 30. Charlie Comben, 31. Curtis Taylor, 32. Mason Wood, 33. Ed Vickers-Willis, 34. Jamie MacMillan, 35. Jack Mahony, 36. Joel Crocker, 37. Kyron Hayden, 38. Tristan Xerri, 39. Flynn Perez, 40. Tom Murphy, 41. Matthew McGuiness, 42. Tom Campbell, 43. Aaron Hall, 44. Cameron Zurhaar, 46. Lachlan Hosie, 50. Ben Brown.
INS: Aiden Bonar (GWS), Josh Walker (Brisbane), Charlie Comben (Gippsland Power), Jack Mahony (Sandringham Dragons), Flynn Perez (Bendigo Pioneers), Matthew McGuiness (Tasmania Devils).
OUTS: Red Og Murphy, Scott Thompson, Tom Wilkinson, Sam Wright, Nathan Hrovat, Declan Watson, Tom McKenzie.
|Rd 1||St Kilda||H||MS||Sun 1.10pm|
|Rd 2||Brisbane||A||Gabba||Sat 7.25pm|
|Rd 3||Port Adelaide||H||MS||Sat 7.25pm|
|Rd 4||Bulldogs||H||MS||Fri 4.20pm|
|Rd 5||Fremantle||H||BA||Sun 1.10pm|
|Rd 6||Carlton||A||MCG||Sun 3.20pm|
|Rd 7||Sydney||A||SCG||Sun 1.10pm|
|Rd 8||Hawthorn||H||MS||Sun 4.40pm|
|Rd 9||Essendon||H||MS||Sat 1.45pm|
|Rd 10||Collingwood||A||MS||Sun 3.20pm|
|Rd 11||Geelong||A||GMHBA||Sat 1.45pm|
|Rd 12||Richmond||A||MCG||Sun 2.10pm|
|Rd 13||Brisbane||H||BA||Sat 1.45pm|
|Rd 15||West Coast||A||OS||Sat 8.10pm|
|Rd 16||GWS||H||MS||Sun 3.20pm|
|Rd 17||Hawthorn||A||UTAS||Sat 2.10pm|
|Rd 18||Essendon||A||MCG||Sun 1.10pm|
|Rd 19||Gold Coast||H||BA||Sat 2.10 pm|
|Rd 20||Carlton||H||MS||Sun 1.10pm|
|Rd 21||Bulldogs||A||MS||Sun 3.20pm|
|Rd 22||Adelaide||A||AO||Sun 4.40pm|
Last year was a turbulent one with emotions running high on and off the field. In 2020 however, North have a chance to get a jump on the competition with a favorable fixture. Playing St Kilda in their first round, gives North a chance to get a first-up win, for once.
The Club then travels to the Gabba to play Brisbane, which will give their new game plan and coach a big test; as Brisbane look like a top eight side this year. North then return to Melbourne to play two games at Marvel Stadium, against Port Adelaide and Western Bulldogs and one game in Hobart to take on Fremantle, all winnable.
It is disappointing North doesn’t have any Friday night games, I fondly remember going to these games on a Friday night with my family. I am happy that North get to play four games at the MCG. It has been years since North had that many games there in a home and away season, rather than the usual one or two. Unfortunately for North Melbourne supporters who love to attend their games, they will be disappointed at not having a game in Melbourne from the 8 June to the 4 July.
Five Fearless Predictions
1. Brown to come second in the Coleman Again.
Brown has come so close to winning the Coleman medal in the last two years. The eventual winners kicked bags, against weakened opposition, in the last rounds to pip Big Ben at the post. I predict this year will be no different.
Brown has been the sharpshooter of the competition for the last few years. His endurance is second to none, constantly taking his athleticism to the next level every year. As well as being very unselfish and team player always dishing off rather than going for goal himself.
2. Comeback Kings
This will be a year of comebacks. Ben Jacobs (the Invisible Man), Majak Daw (the Miracle Man), Will Walker (The Rookie) and Ed Vickers Willis (Mr Unlucky), will lace up their football boots and take their rightful place on the field. Jacobs has made a name for himself as one of the best football taggers to play the game within the last few years. It is no coincidence that before he had a mystery illness or concussion (I still don’t know what was wrong with him), that in 2018 we started the season off extremely well than fell in a hole when he didn’t return.
If Majak Daw is to play 1 game at least in the AFL, he will have to fight for it. I am certain he is up for the challenge though and when he does play at senior level again he will be a source of excitement for the supporters. I don’t think that Will Walker and Ed Vicker-Willis will be in North top 22, but they will cause some headaches for the coaches as potential wild cards and add some much-needed quality depth to the side.
3. Jy Simpkin to have a standout year
Jy Simpkin has shown glimpses as to what he is capable of since being drafted in 2016, he just hasn’t quite taken it to the next level. With Jy joining the leadership group this is the year to shine. Jy has got the shimmy and side step down pat and now with Brent Harvey at North teaching the young kids, he will undoubtedly add to his bag of tricks.
4. Controversy Again
Over the years North has inadvertently found themselves the center of controversy that have led to contentious results. North has been responsible for the introduction of the rule to recall the bad bounce from the center square, the implementation of the Interchange Steward, the free kicks for Diving on the ball and taking the legs of opponents. As a supporter of the game it seemed to me that there were already rules for these situations but AFL over reacted with these rule changes, which seem over the top. There will be a controversial decision made this year that will lead the AFL to change the rules midseason and not for the better.
5. Ben Cunnington win the Brownlow???
Ben Cunnington is a humble and quiet man, not much for attention; this is why he has been an underrated player for his entire career. Unfortunately, for him, this is all about to change. It wasn’t until this year he got noticed for the work he does around the ground. The word around the club is that this is the fittest he has ever been in his entire career. I believe with his uncanny way of finding space, his skills, strength and now his endurance he will be even greater threat to the opposition. This will make him amongst the Brownlow favorites this year making him a highly rated player in the league.
Where will they finish?
North supporters have shared a lot of highs and lows over the years. Losing the winnable and winning the impossible. It will be the same this year. However the mood and feel around the club for 2020 is exciting and optimistic, compared to the black cloud of depression that enveloped the Club this time last year. With a new coach embracing the “Shinboner Spirit”, new feeling and new team they will just make the finals (only just.).