AFL 2020: North Melbourne – Midseason Report Card

Things started so promisingly for North Melbourne but turned south quickly. How did Bozza grade their performances in the first nine rounds?

When North Melbourne defeated GWS to start the season 2-0, we aren’t going to lie, we were starting to believe that the ‘Shinboner Spirit’ was beginning to do its magic at Arden Street this year. Seven weeks later and we are wondering what on earth were we thinking? What grade do you give to half a season like North Melbourne’s?

Can’t get enough footy? Check out more of our Pinch Hitters Mid Season Report Cards here.

What’s gone right

Whatever motivational technique Rhyce Shaw used at half time in Round One against the Saints. Despite trailing by 29-points at the main break, the Kangaroos rallied to record a six point victory. Their third and fourth quarters against GWS in the next round were impressive too, with five unanswered goals either side of three quarter time the impetus of an upset victory over their highly fancied opposition.

At the risk of just listing everyone of their victories, everything about their Round Nine ‘wooden spoon clash’ went right too. After making tough decisions at the selection table, by dropping Jared Polec and Ben Brown, the team kicked the highest score of the season to demolish the woeful Crows. All of this pales into insignificance though with the day to be forever remembered for the return of Majak Daw. The big Kangaroos return to the AFL an incredibly heart warming story that both should be incredibly proud of.

What’s gone wrong

Where do you start? Losing six games in a row between Rounds Three and Eight, they were saved from greater scrutiny by the complete ineptitude of the Adelaide Crows. With the possible exception of Todd Goldstein, Shaun Higgins and Jy Simpkin, their stars have failed to shine in 2020.

There is no greater example of this than the output of their four time leading goal kicker, Ben Brown. After having the Coleman Medal ripped from his grasp in the final round last year, Brown has managed to boot just eight goals from eight games in 2020. Circuitously his form has not at all been helped by the Kangaroos misfiring midfield, but the shear sensational nature of it has perhaps shielded those delivering the ball from scrutiny.

Standout player

Todd Goldstein

In recent years Goldstein has been conspicuously absent from conversations regarding the best ruckmen in the competition. His form in 2020 should mean that this oversight is quickly corrected. Second in hitouts and first in the competition for clearances, the 32-year-old would rightly back himself in, against any other big man. Despite the performances of his teammates around him, if he keeps doing what he is doing, he must be a genuine chance to add a second All-Australian Blazer to his collection at season’s end.

Run home

Rd 10GeelongThe Gabba
Rd 11MelbourneAdelaide Oval
Rd 12BrisbaneThe Gabba
?Gold Coast?
?Port Adelaide?
?West Coast?

Despite their horror start, North Melbourne have an unenviable fixture to end the season. In the final eight games they play Collingwood and four current top eight teams while meeting just three teams from the bottom half of the table.

Final Grade


Despite a strong start, North Melbourne have been a long way off the best teams in 2020.

Can’t get enough footy? Check out more of our Pinch Hitters Mid Season Report Cards here.

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