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VFL: Report Card (Round 1, 2019)

Match result

Werribee 14.14 98 def. North Melbourne 8.11 59

Player stats

AFL-listed
Cameron Zurhaar (19 disposals), Declan Watson (9 disposals, 1 goal), Jed Anderson (11 disposals, 8 tackles), Joel Crocker (17 disposals, 1 goal), Kyron Hayden (7 disposals, 1 goal), Mason Wood (7 disposals), Nathan Hrovat (26 disposals, 1 goal), Nick Larkey (3 goals, 10 marks), Red Og Murphy (5 disposals), Sam Wright (14 disposals, 11 marks), Tom Murphy (21 disposals, 12 marks), Tom Wilkinson (7 disposals)

VFL-listed
Brendan Whitecross (15 disposals, 10 marks), Cameron Hodges (4 disposals), Chris Jansen (21 disposals, 18 tackles), Dan Robinson (10 disposals), Fraser Cameron (6 disposals), Lachlan Mirams (8 disposals, 7 marks), Louis Cunningham (11 disposals, 6 tackles), Mitch Rodd (9 disposals), Nick Rippon (13 disposals, 1 goal), Quintin Montanaro (8 disposals), Ty Leonardis (13 disposals)

Recap

North Melbourne’s VFL side suffered a loss in its season-opener, falling to Werribee at Avalon Airport Oval on Saturday night.

The likes of AFL-listed trio Nathan Hrovat, Declan Watson and Nick Larkey allowed the Roos to storm to an early lead after a dominant five-goal first term.

However, the hosts adjusted, working their way back into the game with a dominant second quarter display, which set the tone for the rest of the night.

A run of nine consecutive goals for Werribee sealed North’s fate on what proved to be a disappointing performance under lights.

There were plenty of positives to take from the Round 1 clash, including the returns of Jed Anderson, who completed three quarters in a defensive role, and Sam Wright, who played a full game. 

Meanwhile, Kyron Hayden showed promise in a tagging role against Michael Barlow.

What the coach said

“Our first quarter of football was outstanding,” North VFL senior coach David Loader told North Media.

“We were really impressive when we got the shape we wanted. We gave some opportunities to some key forwards and there was a lot to like in the first quarter.

“It was our inability to keep ourselves in the contest that really challenged us. There’s half a dozen young guys that haven't played at this level before, or haven't played senior footy in some time.

“Those types of things we have to work our way through, and some guys that couldn't get through the entire game, which limits your resources.

“There’s plenty of learnings and plenty of positives too.”

Best of AFL

Nathan Hrovat
Fighting for a small-forward position at senior level, Hrovat was terrific with a dominant first quarter that set the tone for the night.

Working in tandem with tall forwards Nick Larkey and Mason Wood, Hrovat got plenty of the footy, finishing with 26 disposals and a goal for his efforts.

“We performed really well in the first quarter, but then let ourselves down in the end,” he told North Media.

“I think it’s important that we continue that communication and being vocal, even when we’re not performing as well as we like.”

Best of VFL

Brendan Whitecross
The former Hawk showed his experience, playing a crucial role in North’s defensive six, enabling AFL-listed pair Wright and Anderson to ease into the game.

Playing under duress for large patches of the game, the dual development coach and VFL player brought his surrounding Roos into the game.