After The Game v Kangaroos – With SNAPS TRULY

Freo v North Melbourne – Round 2 2023

Match Report from Snaps Truly

We, members of the Docker Army were marching across (or under) the Windan Bridge on a muggy Saturday afternoon. Derbil Yerrigan glistening and sparkled below us and two dolphins, sensing an appreciative audience, danced and dived for our entertainment. Little children shrieked with joy. Their grandparents smiled knowingly. Hands were stretched out to be held. After which, it all bloody fell to pieces really, didn’t it?

Look, it’s still early days. I can tell you a VERSION OF THE TRUTH if it will make you feel better, but it wouldn’t BE THE TRUTH.

Something like … “Fremantle flew home tonight against North and only lost by a point. They were cruelly denied the opportunity to square the ledger right on the siren, when the field umpire declared a desperate North Melbourne kick for touch by Daniel Howe – valid and not deserving of punishment.”

Put a bold type headline above it.

PLUCKY DOCKERS EDGED OUT BY LUCKY NORTH and we can live a convenient and victim obsessed football lie, if that’s what we want to do.

Let me know for next week.

Sure, Alex Pearce flapped his arms around a bit and made a polite and mindful inquiry and perhaps one or two in the stands bellowed their displeasure, but all those around me accepted that this was a draw we were not denied, nor was it a draw we deserved.

So, what to write about then? Did I tell you about the dolphins? Oh, I did already.

Well, Matt Taberner as you know, has long been a barometer of fans’ happiness or bitter frustration. Fit and firing his hands are good and that left foot is raking.

He was poorly treated early. Having completed a mark inside the behind line – at least inside enough for the umpire to allow him to take his kick – he converted – only for the goal to be disallowed after a review of the mark. After the match Justin Longmuir rightly queried why it wasn’t reviewed before the kick was allowed to be taken.

Taberner did have one glorious opportunity; a set shot on goal after a mark on the lead. But so daunted was he by the challenge of doing what he’s apparently paid well to do; he used up his allotted time seemingly worrying about whether he’d left the water running or his dog in the back seat of a locked car on a hot day.

The umpire called play on and the opportunity vanished. Taberner incredibly, RAN OUT OF TIME to take his shot on goal. Interestingly the question of whether Matt Taberner has run out of time, is now, I understand, a very popular Year Nine debating topic.

Lachie Schultz was busy early getting lots of touches, which is a generous way of describing a fit of the fumbles.

Freddy danced and darted and sold the dummy and baulked and feinted his way straight into the arms of North Melbourne defenders and Luke Jackson took a mark and then … took the rest of the afternoon off.

Truly, the only flashes of anything much came from super sub Michael Walters, who within ten minutes of coming on in the second half had kicked two brilliant snaps. He will play a full game next week and may indeed be allotted Taberner’s minutes on top of that.

The game was nearly gone. Two goals by Jaeger O’Meara in the closing moments and another by the irresistible Brennan Cox, cut it to a point. I could add the word solitary – a “solitary point” – to make it seem more of a nailbiter, but that is just bad grammar.

With seconds ticking away – Matt had been subbed off by now to go and check on his dog – the crowd of forty thousand roared the Dockers on, but try as they might – a forward line of car crash chaos could not bully or cajole or luck the ball over the line for the point that would have tied the game.

Sure we sort of hoped the umpire would produce that ludicrous scooping motion and pay us an unlikely free kick, but he didn’t. The annoyingly smug and dated “Good old North Melbourne …” team song began to play and we slowly made our way to the exits.

This was a hapless, anxious, lethargic performance. Another one.

And so, as I made my lonely walk home across (or under) the Windan Bridge, I hoped Flipper might emerge out of the inky darkness and perhaps give me a smile like he used to when I was a kid watching him on TV.

But Flipper wasn’t there. He was already in the North Melbourne rooms, dancing on his tail and whistling with delight alongside Alasdair Clarkson and his boys.

* By our new, multi-talented and amazingly insightful footy scribe, SNAPS TRULY. Snaps has seen and done it all. He may or may not have been a fringe player at Fremantle. Who knows? Don’t miss Snaps’ report after each Freo Dockers match throughout the season.

** In case you missed SNAPS’ other match reports, here they are.

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