Do North know where the goals are?
After a strong start to the season, things have gone from bad to worse for the Kangaroos in 2020. Their loss to Richmond the nadir of a free fall that has seen them manage just 42-points a game since being overrun late by the Swans in Round Three.
Remarkably, as bad as a final score of 23-points might appear on face value it doesn’t tell the full story of the Kangaroos impotent attack. Just how bereft of direction they are only fully highlighted when you review the match stats. Somehow, despite being outscored 11 goals to two, they won more possessions and clearances than the Tigers.
How the Game Was Won
If not for the Tigers inability to take full toll, the first quarter might have been the most devastating of the season. With the Kangaroos unable to get their hands on the ball, eight of their players had less than two touches, Richmond set up camp at their end of the ground with 17 inside 50’s to one.
Despite Richmond controlling the match, and North managing just two goals, the match remained in the balance until late in the third quarter. In the end the Tigers did what they needed to but they will need more if they are to challenge the better teams.
What the Coaches Said
Damien Hardwick was happy with how his undermanned team delivered the Tigers’ system. “I think when we’re at our very best that’s the way we play, we step in early,” Hardwick said. “We’ve probably been OK at it this year but we’ve started to ramp it up a bit. We’ve been playing OK in spits and spurts, but the things we measure have all been strong.
“There’s been some areas of our game, like our inside 50 connection, hasn’t been to the level we’d like, but it is the hardest kick in footy to hit. We look at our indicators and they’ve all been positive, so it’s indicating we’re playing the right way, we’ve just got to play it a little bit better from a finishing and execution point of view. We’re going OK, but we can certainly play, I think, a hell of a lot better.”
Rhyce Shaw said the Kangaroos won enough ball but failed to use it effectively. “You look at the numbers and really happy with plus-21 contested possessions, plus-12 clearances, plus-15 ground balls, plus-11 loose balls but it’s probably our inability to maintain the ball…is letting us down. We just didn’t take our opportunities,” he said. “That let us down pretty heavily in the first quarter and it’s hard to come back from that scoreless first quarter.”
“The numbers probably suggest we were in and around the ball but again, we were doing a lot right, but we just broke down. You break down against Richmond and you are going to get hurt and we were hurt pretty heavily. This is AFL footy so you just can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. We’ve got to actually take these opportunities and find out who wants to take them and who doesn’t and at the moment we probably just don’t have enough blokes rowing the boat.”
RICHMOND 4.3 6.5 9.7 11.11 (77)
NORTH MELBOURNE 0.0 2.3 2.6 2.11 (23)
Richmond: Aarts 2, Chol 2, Martin 2, Castagna, Lynch, Pickett, Riewoldt, Rioli
North Melbourne: Dumont, Walker
Richmond: Eggmolesse-Smith, Bolton, Grimes, Short, Higgins, Martin
North Melbourne: Higgins, Walker, Dumont, Hall
Richmond: Caddy (hamstring)
North Melbourne: Zurhaar (calf) replaced in selected side by McKay, Ziebell (hamstring), Hayden (head)