Today we see North Melbourne take on the visiting Gold Coast Suns at Etihad Stadium, with both sides looking to get back on track after poor performances last week. Join us for live scores and commentary from 4.40pm AEST.
In many ways, the Kangaroos can’t get anything out of this match.
After their round three win over reigning premiers Geelong, the champagne was flowing, talk of North Melbourne having finally ‘arrived’ was the order of the day, and many were predicting them to upset the undefeated Swans in Sydney.
A five goal-to-one opening quarter by the home side soon put paid to all of that, and as they went down by 36 points we were once again left wondering if the Roos will ever get there.
Stung by the loss, North would love to hit back hard this week against a worthy opponent. Instead they face a travelling Gold Coast missing Gary Ablett, which is like David going to Goliath’s backyard armed not with rocks but feathers.
We know what the Kangaroos are capable off when coming off a loss that hurts against a lowly outfit – after the round one heartbreak against an Essendon side they were fancied to beat, we saw them pulverize GWS a week later by 129 points.
No one will be surprised if they do the same here. Ryan Bastinac, Liam Anthony, Leigh Adams and co will be competing with each other once more to rack up possessions and goals.
This time they’ll be joined by possibly the best of the young brigade, Jack Ziebell, who missed out on party time against the Giants.
Throw in the evergreen Brent Harvey, the electric Daniel Wells who is improving with each outing after a limited pre-season, and a Drew Petrie who is eager to impress in front of goal after a fortnight out of form, and you have the ingredients for a big win that will look good in the Sunday papers, but mean nothing in terms of building this football club.
With Gary Ablett and Jarrod Harbrow out, an injury cloud over Michael Rischitelli, and David Swallow also less than 100% after a hip injury last week, is it too much to hope for the Suns to be competitive? In a nutshell, yes.
You know we’ve come a long way in a short time when it can be said with a straight face that Karmichel Hunt is one of the form players in the Gold Coast side, but there you have it.
If his younger teammates can take a lead from his intensity, application and pressure, then the Suns can make it harder for the Roos to succeed.
Harley Bennell and Josh Caddy have been the two most impressive Gold Coast youngsters so far in season 2012, the former impressing with his spark and skill, the latter with hardness and footy smarts.
They’ll need to find another level today though, and just might do so without Ablett to rely on.
Campbell Brown has been a terrible disappointment in his three games so far this year, and Guy McKenna should have given him a bake this week, putting the onus on him to perform.
Averaging 10 possessions a game is poor enough, but he’s not even making up for it with work-rate. Applying a lowly 1.7 tackles a match is far down from his output over the last four years, and simply not good enough from a respected leader and supposed hard man.
When it comes to summing up this match, there is only going to be one outcome, so the final margin will come down to how much Guy McKenna can stem the bleeding, especially without the best player in the league at his disposal.
I think we can draw a formline through what a hungry North did to GWS, and I think they’ll play with the same purpose again.
In a year where 13 wins may not be enough to secure a spot in the eight, percentage will be crucial come the end of the year. The Roos will know this, and the Suns will be powerless to stop them.
North will gain four points out of this match, but not respect. That can only come by backing up with the same effort against quality opposition week after week.
North Melbourne by 90 points.