AFL 2020: Essendon v North Melbourne – Round Six Knee Jerk Reaction

The Bombers won a dour arm-wrestle on Saturday night at Metricon to quietly move to four wins and one loss after five games.

Do we need a little perspective?

‘Roos grubby taunt to McKenna’ screamed the Herald Sun online. What was the outrageous offence Luke McDonald committed? He covered his mouth when approached by Essendon’s Connor McKenna. Was McDonald silly? Yes. Were his actions immature? Probably. Do they deserve to be described as grubby? Not even close.

Whilst acknowledging the click bait world the Herald Sun competes in, this was a ridiculous headline. As a newspaper that continues to defend the booing of Adam Goodes it actually defies belief they could classify this incident this way and readers deserve better. How about we save the moral indignation for events that deserve them and leave the faux outrage shtick to Sky News after dark.

How the Game Was Won

After just two possessions against Collingwood, David Zaharakis was influential for the Bombers against North Melbourne. With goals difficult to come by on a greasy night at Metricon, his 20 touches and three goals were worth their weight in gold.

Both sides were wasteful up forward, with the Bombers kicking for goal keeping the game close at half time despite having 16 scoring shots to 11. Conversely by games end the Kangaroos went inside attacking fifty more often than their opponents but managed six less scores.

In the end it was the strength in the Bombers back half that proved decisive. After conceding three goals in the first quarter to trail by five points, they let in a miserly four more for the rest of the match. As a result they have quietly won four out of five games and sit just one game off the competition lead with a game in hand.

What the Coaches Said


John Worsfold characterised the match as ‘a good arm wrestle’. “We knew it was going to be a contested game it’s a big part of the way North Melbourne play,” he said. “In the end we matched them in that area.”

Happy as he was with the win he lamented some of his teams ball use. “Then we were probably not as clean as we’d like to have been when we got the ball outside. Then using it going forward we left a few opportunities out there but we’re pleased to come away with a solid win,” he told reporters.

North Melbourne

Despite dropping to their fourth loss in a row, Rhyce Shaw praised his team’s effort against Essendon. “We’re doing a lot of work and tonight was a really good example of that,” Shaw said post game. “But we’re just not getting the reward yet,” Shaw said post-game. But if we continue to do that we’ll get those rewards as we go, and I was really pleased with the guys’ efforts again.” 

Shaw also defended out of touch full forward Ben Brown. “‘Browny’ in particular again competed and tried really hard but we just didn’t get the result. Our delivery in there isn’t great at the moment,” Shaw said. We won the inside 50s again (47 to 43) so we’re giving ourselves a chance, it’s just that we need to make the most of those chances and also go in a bit cleaner as well. That will help our forwards.” 

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ESSENDON                   2.5   5.11   8.11   9.13 (67)

NORTH MELBOURNE   3.4   4.7    6.11    7.11 (53) 

Essendon: Zaharakis 3, Langford 2, Laverde, McDonald-Tipungwuti, Snelling, Townsend
North Melbourne: Zurhaar 2, Atley, Brown, Goldstein, Higgins, Scott 

Essendon: McGrath, Zaharakis, Fantasia, Parish, Saad, Ridley
North Melbourne: Goldstein, Simpkin, Zurhaar, Dumont, Hall, McDonald 

Essendon: Nil
North Melbourne: Anderson (quad) replaced in selected side by Williams, Taylor (head) 

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