North Melbourne has suffered a heartbreaking two-point loss to Richmond in the VFL on Saturday afternoon, with the Tigers coming out on top in a heavily contested, wind-affected game.
While the Kangaroos had the wind on their side in the final term, they couldn’t make the most of the elements to overcome the Tigers. A Matt McGuinness goal in the final minutes gave some hope, but that would be the final goal of the day as the Tigers won 8.10 (58) to 8.8 (56).
The clash was Tom Lynch’s first game in charge as interim coach. He says the result was a difficult one to take.
“It’s really disappointing in the end because the boys put in a great effort all day. It was nice to be able to be in the contest and have those tense moments of being a kick away from winning the game though,” Lynch told North Media.
“That being said, we’re not looking to escape from the fact we’re bitterly disappointed. I can’t question the players’ efforts and I was rapt with how they played today.
“It was a horrible day in terms of the wind because it so heavily favoured one end, but hopefully the boys can take a lot of confidence out of the game.”
KANGAROOS v TIGERS Full match coverage and stats
Marty Hore and Josh Walker had immense days in defence, and it was Hore in particular who played a key role in not only keeping the Tigers scoreless in the second term, but controlling the game from the back when the Tigers had the breeze.
Out of the 16 goals for the day, a whopping 13 of those were kicked at the city end of the ground, with Dom Tyson’s third-quarter snap the first goal of the day against the wind.
Lynch said it’s obvious how much of an impact the wind had on proceedings.
“Our ability to defend against the breeze and keep having repeat entries when we had it was really pleasing. We also managed to keep competing ahead of the ball when we were outnumbered,” he said.
“The conditions meant that so many contests came down to the ability to fight and bring the ball to ground. It wasn’t an easy day to take marks ahead of the play. The boys were the first to move which created a lot of scoring shots when we had the breeze.
“We outscored Richmond two goals to one against the breeze for the day, and that shows that we were still able to move the ball how we wanted to despite the disadvantage which is another good sign.”
Jack Mahony put in a strong performance as he rotated through the midfield and forward positions, while Dom Tyson was an immense presence at the contest with 25 touches and seven clearances.
After starting the season as a mainstay in the senior side, Mahony has found himself in and out of the team in recent weeks but has impressed whenever called upon at VFL level.
While he’s traditionally a pressure forward, Lynch appreciates the number one’s presence at the stoppage at reserve level.
“‘Mahns’ played a bit of a blend today. He was predominantly forward with a bit of time in the midfield. He’s obviously a great young player who is really clean over the ball,” he said.
“So much of the game was played through repeat stoppages, so to have him up around the ball gave us a really good look.
“As much as it felt like he was in the midfield, a lot of his stoppage moments happened when he came up as a forward. He had a really good game today."
The highlight of the day was Jackson Archer’s third-term goal, his first in royal blue and white. The first-year defender battled against the wind as he classily converted a set shot from the left pocket, while Kallan Dawson was once again a good marking presence in the back line.
Josh Goater continued his good form and provided drive and speed through the wide areas of the ground, while Max Mitchell-Russell was once again among the goals.
North Melbourne will have an extra week to dwell on the narrow loss thanks to the bye next week.
NORTH MELBOURNE 0.3 3.6 5.7 8.8 (56)
RICHMOND 4.3 4.3 7.9 8.10 (58)
Jackson Archer: Eight disposals, one goal, two tackles
Atu Bosenavulagi: 17 disposals, three marks, three tackles
Kallan Dawson: 18 disposals, three marks
Jacob Edwards: Four disposals, fifteen hitouts, three tackles
Eddie Ford: 11 disposals, five marks
Josh Goater: 19 disposals, four marks, one tackle
Jack Mahony: 22 disposals, one goal, five marks, four tackles, four clearances
Matt McGuinness: 15 disposals, one goal, two marks, three tackles
Kayne Turner: Four disposals, three tackles
Pat Walker: 14 disposals, four clearances
Josh Walker: 22 disposals, eight marks
Best of VFL-listed
Kade Answerth: 12 disposals, two goals, eight tackles, two clearances
Sam Collins: Nine disposals, one goal, five marks, three tackles
Marty Hore: 31 disposals, nine marks
Dom Tyson: 25 disposals, five marks, six tackles, seven clearances