Votes and notes this week by Liahm O’Brien
From a personal and a team perspective, if we could decide on a song to describe the night it would be unanimous decision to choose Ironic by Alanis Morissette. Dad and I arrived at the ground early, beating the Hobart traffic to take our seats in front of the hill ready for this grand spectacle, this massive night in Tasmanian footy. By half time, our excitement had turned into worry and anxiety. While we were within touching distance on the scoreboard in terms of scoring shots, we were being out hunted and out run. These fears were realised when a third quarter onslaught blew us off the park, our ever present key defenders trying their hardest to stop the barrage being bestowed upon them. For those at the game, it would have been clear that there was too much of a focus on the ball and not enough on structure, meaning North could overlap with absolute ease. In all, there is no better conclusion than to say that this is a hard game to talk about. Very rarely do you come away from watching your team play live without a highlight or memorable moment, but this one for me went through the motions and was very hard to watch.
The hellacious night was only compounded by further ‘irony’ to put it lightly. Players that had worked hard over the last month to transform themselves as footballers and to win a spot at senior level had all succumbed to injury. For Steve Morris, the last few years of being on the fringes had appeared to be over. He had looked confident over the last month on field, leaving his man on numerous occasions and would always either impact the contest or win the ball. To see him try to fight on despite doing a severe knee is a testament to his character. Ben Griffiths on the other hand has added last night’s game to the ever-growing list of tricks he cannot take. Griffiths going from a makeshift forward to a ruckman that can play as a big on-baller with a booming kick, has been the equivalent of finding an abundance of spring water in the Simpson Desert. He’s been phenomenal for the team, but unfortunately injuries look like showing their ugly head yet again. In fact his form at Blundstone Arena for injuries leads to a 100% strike rate, a stat that reflects the severity of injury to his career. Without even taking into account the withdrawal before the game of Dylan Grimes, and Nick Vlastuin going down, it can be said that our experience with Hobart was one of carnage and chaos. To quote former Soviet War Commissar Leon Trotsky, this game should be ‘thrown into the dustbin of history’, never to see the light of day again.
Nonetheless, I did find some winners. Here they are:
5. Anthony Miles – wherever the footy was, he was on hands and knees next to it. Tried his hardest as he always does to win clearances and tackle hard, even bobbed up in defence to take an intercept mark. This wasn’t an easy task given the battering ram approach of Ziebell, Swallow, Wells and Cunnington (first half). Was very happy to see Rioli pass off to him for a set shot in the last which he duly slotted. ‘Snip’ deserved a goal for his efforts. He showed ticker and can hold his head high from this one.
4. Alex Rance – I cannot profess my love for Alex Rance in any logical and sane way. He proved again last night why he is the best defender in the competition. For Waite and Brown to walk off the ground with 1 goal between them, despite the quality of the ball that went into their forward 50, was an immense win for us.
3. Shaun Hampson – speaking of immense wins, ‘Hammer’ did the job he needed to in an emphatic fashion. With Goldstein out, he had to be a force with the hit out and was, ending +34 in ruck contests and often tapping the ball to good spots. His true impact was probably lessened by the way in which the North midfielders hunted the ball in packs and sharked it from the taps. He worked hard to make contests around the ground, often flying 1 on 2.
2. Shaun Grigg – did a good job in and under at stoppages, but also worked hard around the ground to get the ball moving forward. I also thought he was one of a select few that ran both ways and was accountable for his man as North went into attack. Provided a real presence on the ball and tried his hardest to repel the battering ram coming towards us.
1. Trent Cotchin – the skipper tried his hardest and along with Grigg was pivotal in and under against a tough opposition. His tackle on Sam Gibson early in the game was fierce and should have probably set the tone for greater team efforts given it was against the run of play. I’d expect ‘Cotch’ to be on his way to bringing home his 4th ‘Jack’ given the form he is in and the effort that he brings week in, week out.
That’s my take on proceedings from this weekend, onwards and upwards from here. Let’s bounce back and really stick it to the Suns next week at the G! – go Tiges.
5: Lambert, Castagna, Griffiths, Grimes
3: Townsend, Short, C. Ellis
2: Rioli, Grigg
1: B. Ellis
Blair Hartley Appreciation Award
Anthony Banik Best First Year Player
Joel Bowden's Golden Left Boot
Greg Tivendale Rookie List Medal
We still hope to get a volunteer from ORCS to do votes next week. Email if you’d like to get involved.