The Kangaroos split their Marsh Series matches against the Bulldogs and Swans. A Marcus Bontempelli master class saw the team fall short against the Bulldogs before they prevailed over Sydney in their last competitive hitout ahead of the 2020 season. What did Siobhan Waddell learn from the Kangaroos Marsh Series Campaign?
1. Nick Larkey Impresses.
Larkey has come along way since being drafted in 2016, when in his first game come away with next to no touches. He is turning into an accomplished forward that makes defenders nervous. In the Marsh series he took some good marks but dropped some easy ones; give him another year he will take them. Once Brown comes back in the side the two of them will be a formidable pair. I am sure the defenders will have nightmares.
2. Taryn Thomas Stands Up.
When it comes to class you could always turn to the mercurial Shaun Higgins and Brent Harvey. With the retirement of Harvey, Higgins is now the lone ranger of class, but what if he got injured or not at his best who can we turn to. Enter Taryn Thomas whose stylish play in the preseason, showing us his lovely side stepping action and flawless disposal has supporters excited. He is reminiscent of Daniel Wells in his early days at North.
3. Ill-Discipline proves costly.
When it comes to North you can never fault their endeavour or resolve on the field. What usually hinders them however is their tendency to overuse the ball, leading to a turn over, or bad disposal at pivotal moments, when the play was leading to something special. We got to see this in both games of the Marsh series. When North are accurate with their disposal, they can be really good, if not they can be really bad. Players have to exercise more discipline on the field; five 50-metre penalties in one game is unacceptable and can be very costly.
4. Curtis Taylor Surprises.
I never thought Curtis Taylor might be one of the young players to watch at North. During the Marsh series he showed us his skills and the ability to make it at AFL level. He appears to have the X factor, with his high marking and being able to rove off the pack. He will be a player who will give the coaching staff some headaches when choosing the top 22 during this season.
5. Youngsters prove North’s stocks run deep.
After half time against Sydney, North took Cunnington and Ziebell off and brought in a whole bunch of young and inexperienced players. The way the second half went with the likes of Curtis, Xerri, Mahoney and Bonar has given us hope that North may have more depth than supporters realize.
AFL 2020 MARSH SERIES ONE
WESTERN BULLDOGS 4.4 7.7 11.10 15.11 (101)
NORTH MELBOURNE 4.0 5.1 7.2 9.3 (57)
Western Bulldogs: Young 3, Lloyd 3, Schache 2, Bontempelli 2, Dickson, Dale, Wallis, Hunter, McLean
North Melbourne: Larkey 2, Xerri 2, Goldstein, Thomas, Anderson, Taylor, Garner
Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli, Hunter, Macrae, Young, Crozier, Dunkley
North Melbourne: Cunnington, Simpkin, Walker, Anderson, Thomas, Dumont
Western Bulldogs: Naughton (knee), replaced in selected side by Lewis Young, Richards (concussion)
North Melbourne: Nil
Umpires: Meredith, Lewis, Simmonds
Official crowd: 5465 at Marvel Stadium
AFL 2020 MARSH SERIES TWO
NORTH MELBOURNE 5.0 6.1 11.4 14.6 (90)
SYDNEY 3.1 8.3 10.5 12.7 (79)
North Melbourne: Larkey 3, Higgins 2, Curtis Taylor 2, Goldstein, Polec, Zurhaar, Ahern, Hall, Mahony, Anderson
Sydney: Papley 4, Rowbottom, Lloyd, McCartin, Heeney, Hayward, Kennedy, Sinclair, Taylor
North Melbourne: Higgins, Simpkin, Curtis Taylor, Anderson, Larkey, Pittard
Sydney: Kennedy, Papley, Lewis Taylor, Parker, Mills, Lloyd
North Melbourne: Nil
Reports: Will Hayward (Sydney) for forceful front-on conduct on Taylor (North Melbourne) in the first quarter
Umpires: Donlon, Rosebury, Gavine, Power
Official crowd: TBC at Kingston Twin Ovals