Essendon 12.10.82 def. North Melbourne 4.8.32
Luke Davies-Uniacke (31 disposals,11 tackles), Tom Campbell (29 disposals, 38 hit-outs, 1 goal), Sam Wright (24 disposals), Tristan Xerri (17 disposals), Joel Crocker (16 disposals), Lachie Hosie (13 disposals, 2 goals), Declan Watson (13 disposals), Ben McKay (11 disposals), Majak Daw (9 disposals), Red Og Murphy (9 disposals), Tom Wilkinson (5 disposals)
Dan Robinson (34 disposals), Chris Jansen (25 disposals, 1 goal), Brendan Whitecross (20 disposals), Matt Northe (19 disposals), Nash Holmes (16 disposals), Ty Leonardis (16 disposals), Cameron Hodges (15 disposals), Lewin Davis (12 disposals), Brodie McLaughlin (12 disposals), Louis Cunningham (10 disposals), Ryan Morrison (8 disposals), Jordan McIvor-Clark (1 tackle)
North Melbourne suffered a one-sided defeat at the hands of the VFL leading Essendon on Saturday.
The conditions at Windy Hill we’re cold and tough; the sun was out early but by the main break, the deck was covered in hailstones with the wind blowing heavily.
Kicking with and against the breeze proved to be an increasingly difficult task, with just two goal-scoring opportunities converted in the first quarter by the hosts.
Despite the lack of opportunities, North railed in the second term, booting two majors against the run of play to enter the main break with plans of reducing the 26-point deficit in the second half.
A third quarter fightback saw North outscore the hosts, but the Roos’ fate was sealed after a goalless final term; the game ending in a 50-point defeat.
Playing in just his second game of the season, defender Majak Daw successfully completed the next stage of his comeback with a half of footy under his belt.
The defensive pillar signalled his intent with an ambitious attempt to secure mark of the year, falling just inches short of bringing the ball safely to ground.
Meanwhile, a return to AFL level could be on the cards for Sam Wright and Luke Davies-Uniacke.
The veteran defender capped off his best performance with an encouraging display in North’s defensive six, tallying 24 disposals.
Davies-Uniacke showed glimpses of his line-breaking run, working in tandem with VFL-listed Dan Robinson to secure 31 possessions, while also laying 11 tackles in the wet.
What the coach said
“When we’re playing at our best, we can compete against anyone,” David Loader told North Media.
“We don’t have any fears about where the opposition is placed. But if you don’t turn up and play, you get beaten. If you do turn up and play, you give yourself a chance.
“It wasn't so much about ladder position today, it’s a lot more about us and how we played.
“It makes it tricky when you hope the guys will take over in the air but it’s pouring rain and blowing a gale. Of course, it effects the game, but it does that for both teams. It’s more just the way you play in those conditions.
“Even on days like today, there’s never not a positive for me to come out of the game in my role.”
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The in-form big man continued his dominant season, named as the best performed Roo for the fifth time in 2019.
The 27-year-old showcased his skillset, offering contributions as a forward and defender, while also tallying strong numbers in the centre square.
Campbell’s day ended with 29 disposals, 38 hit-outs and a goal.
“Tom’s numbers continue to be incredible, there’s no doubt about it,” said Loader.
“We saw today that he’s an exceptional player, in both the state league and AFL. He’s a beauty.”
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The hard-working midfielder showcased his football IQ in difficult conditions, providing clean disposal and grit.
Robinson was a vital cog in North’s engine room, getting more of the footy than any other player, which included 34 disposals.
“He was really good today,” said Loader.
“The good players at VFL level like ‘Robbo’ really come to the fore in conditions like today. He was nearly our best ball user today.
“He got a lot of the footy, but it’s the way he uses it. He didn’t turn it over, he’s a pretty good player.”