Footscray 12.11.83 def North Melbourne 9.10.64
Aaron Hall (30 disposals, 9 tackles), Nathan Hrovat (23 disposals, 2 goals), Tom Campbell (22 disposals, 52 hit-outs), Declan Watson (15 disposals, 3 marks), Joel Crocker (14 disposals, 1 mark), Curtis Taylor (14 disposals, 1 goal), Sam Durdin (13 disposals, 6 tackles), Kyron Hayden (12 disposals, 5 tackles), Bailey Scott (12 disposals, 4 tackles), Tristan Xerri (12 disposals, 25 hit-outs), Paul Ahern (9 disposals)
Nash Holmes (23 disposals, 9 tackles), Dan Robinson (20 disposals), Chris Jansen (19 disposals), Louis Cunningham (15 disposals, 4 marks), Tyrone Leonardis (12 disposals, 3 tackles), Brendan Whitecross (12 disposals), Alex Morgan (9 disposals, 3 tackles), Tom Hotchin (8 disposals, 2 tackles), Lachlan McLean (7 disposals, 1 goal), Ryan Morrison (7 disposals, 1 goal)
Despite its best efforts in the testing conditions, North Melbourne fell 19-points short of Footscray at the Whitten Oval on Saturday night.
With the rain falling and the mercury hovering around ten degrees, the Roos got off to a quick start, kicking the opening two goals of the match, the second of which was courtesy of a classy Nathan Hrovat dribble from the boundary.
The away side went into the first break with a 13-point lead, but weren’t able to maintain that form as the Bulldogs fought back in the second term.
Paul Ahern’s night was cut short after suffering a minor left knee injury, however doctors were confident the injury wasn’t serious.
AFL-listed midfielder Aaron Hall put his contested skills to the test, collecting 14 disposals and laying 4 tackles by the main break, while ruckman Tom Campbell had 10 touches and 29 hit-outs by that point.
A defender by trade, Ben McKay was swung forward in the second half to provide a tall target inside 50, and it worked, stretching the Bulldogs’ defence to keep the Roos within touching distance at three-quarter-time.
Campbell continued to stand tall through the middle of the ground, while Hrovat and Curtis Taylor became lively forward of centre.
With one man down on the bench, Footscray kicked three of the five fourth quarter goals to claim the points.
Watch the coach said
“It was one of those games that was always going to be an arm wrestle due to the conditions,” coach David Loader told North Media post-match.
“For most of the night we competed, and competed really well, it just unfortunately came down to some silly errors in front of goal.
“I think we gave them 7.4 from free-kicks and turnovers in front of goal and up the other end we scored three points, so there’s your game right there.
“I really liked our effort around the footy when we have to dig, and we’re getting better and better at that.
“Unfortunately we just couldn’t do that for long enough.”
Best of the AFL
The ruckman rose to the occasion against his old side, putting in an outstanding performance in trying conditions.
With plenty of stoppages and long kicks down the line, Campbell was prominent, ending the match with 52 hit-outs, 22 disposals and 4 marks.
Best of the VFL
Saturday night’s conditions were tailor-made for hard-nut Holmes, who was impactful across half-forward.
Holmes was North’s second highest possession-getter, finishing the night with 23 disposals, 9 tackles and 3 marks.