After the Game v North Melbourne Rd 2, 2024 – With Snaps Truly

Midweek we learnt that North Melbourne, once they’d seen the replay of the Brisbane game, were so overawed by the quality of Freo’s footy, they began to collectively *%it themselves. Or more formally perhaps, be “struck down by a gastric illness.”

So, it was with some curiosity I watched to see what colour shorts they would wear today. Comfortable and reassured in white? Or the precautionary blue? Presumably to lessen the impact of a gut crunching Luke Ryan tackle or the squishy aftermath of an accidental Hopoate.
They chose the blue.

Yes, I know, a quite revolting way to start a match report.

But frankly, I think the prospect of pointing at them and shouting: “You’ve pooed your pants!” is all they deserve after the way they derailed the Docker season early in 2023 with that one-point victory.

Remember that nightmare at Optus?

The ball deep in our forward line in the dying seconds. A North player hacked and hoped and sent it to the boundary. The siren sounded. The free kick and chance to win the game was denied us.

And we all know, had justice prevailed, anyone could have popped that through from 55 metres on a tight angle and in a state of utter exhaustion and yes, we probably would have gone on to beat Collingwood by ten goals in the grand final.

If not for that moment.

Or perhaps a few others.

But if North today might be vulnerable to some uncomfortable rumblings, they showed none of it in the first quarter. Just dash.

The Kangas play a swarming offensive game under Clarkson and they were urgent; winning more contested ball and continually charging forward. They had twenty looks inside 50, while we could manage only seven.

We did a lot of blinking and standing around looking nonplussed.

And it continued that way in the second quarter as the hosts, seemingly effortlessly, raced to a 32-point game high lead.

None of our forwards could get a touch.

Until … Frederick caught an Aish shank and goaled.

And suddenly, and rather like last week, something clicked.

Our transition footy improved. We were more measured. Switkowski kicked another, before Luke Jackson climbed above the pack and reduced the margin to 18 points.

Freo had finally begun to engage and only a fingernail prevented a Serong goal on the half time siren.

The signs were good. But could we peg back that lead?

Yes, my friends. We could.

What followed was extraordinary. In the third term, led by Luke Jackson, tapping, clearing, grabbing, bolting, mowing a neighbour’s lawn and then marking at either end of the ground, Freo asserted complete control over the game.

Matt Taberner, who I thought I sent to the farm permanently at the end of 2023, found a map back and popped up with a couple of goals in a couple of minutes. Neither of which I saw because I was hiding under a chair in the kitchen.

But fair play. They mattered.

Incredibly, Dogga then gave us the lead and he inspired Brayshaw, then Freddy, then Banners and even the Champ himself to kick goal after goal after goal. Freo had kicked nine on the trot to take a 23-point lead into the final quarter.

It was incredible.

Is this the new us?

It appears to be. And it’s as handsome as a bloody stallion.

Of course, there were a couple of anxious moments as North sensed they were about to lose something they thought they had in the bag, but victory was sealed with another goal from Banners.

We love to shout “Remember that name!” whenever Banners pops up and has a moment, because for a bloke perceived to be on the periphery, he always does better than we think he should. And we all want to tousle his hair.

It was left to new boy Jeremy Sharp to put it beyond doubt and upon kicking his first for the club, he turned to the crowd of North Melbourne fans with his arms outstretched.

They just stared back at him – stunned, stricken and quite possibly in a state of gastric anxiety.

Great stuff boys.

And in closing … Special mention to the Harvey Norman Daily for its reckless determination to diminish its once proud history of sports writing.

Bad enough to call WA bred GWS stars “The Traitors’’ ahead of their match with the Harley Reids: they then surmised we Freo fans would be delighting in the fact it was a tough week for “the club’s biggest villains” Liam Henry, Lachie Schultz, Rory Lobb and, of course, Andrew Gaff.

That is really full of *%it.

* By our 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. Don’t miss Snaps’ report after each Freo Dockers match here on the Shipping News throughout the 2024 season.

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