Tag Archives: Aaron Edwards

Arocca on North’s New World Order

In an exclusive to Roo Beauty, North’s highly regarded CEO, Eugene Arocca, spent some time with Rev. Shinboner to discuss all things North Melbourne Football Club. Among other things, he provided some fascinating insights into the new world order that’s taking hold at Arden St this season.

Eugene Arocca is comfortable talking football. Despite his absolute passion for the administration role he’s in, he doesn’t baulk at questions on the team’s on-field performance.

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Notes from the Outer (On-Field)

Daniel Wells

The big difference on-field last week was Daniel Wells. He played off half-back most of the night, and consistently set-up attack for North with great decision making and defence splitting kicks. Exactly what had been missing most of the season to-date.

After watching him cut up Port, I can’t help but wonder if half-back is where Wells should be playing? Instead of moulding Wells in the shape of Chris Judd or Leon Davis, perhaps Andrew McLeod and the revitalised Aaron Davey are better role models? Wells has struggled under a heavy tag, but that’s a whole lot easier to shake at half-back. And he becomes the go-to man running out of defence, naturally bringing himself into the game and allowing his penetrating kicks to dictate play. I say keep him there.

Matty ‘Flash’ Campbell

The other missing ingredient from North has been polish, speed and accuracy in the forward line. Flash delivered it in spades. Lindsay Thomas looked heaps better with Flash worrying the defenders. Then he strained his hammy (the other one).

Ben Ross

Had a great first match of the season. Seems capable of filling the role that Wells occasionally played in the midfield. Line-breaking runs and accurate, penetrating kicks: scarce in North ranks up until last Saturday. It made me wonder why selection was delayed 6 rounds. Apparently he’s got a bit of attitude around the club … ?

Four Ruckman

Asked about playing four ruckman in one team (Hale, Petrie, Goldstein, McIntosh) Laidley made an interesting comparison to St Kilda with Gardiner, King, Riewoldt and Koschitzke. No-one seems to question them, why do people question North’s selection?  Fair point I reckon.

Aaron Edwards

Playing career best footy. I can’t believe supporters were calling for his head after the off-field dramas in the pre-season. He was always going to be a great team contributor.

Jack Ziebell

Deserved nominated for the Rising Star Award this week, but will miss out on the Geelong game with ‘leg soreness’. More likely he’s just getting rested up as the coach has eluded to a number of times. After a big workload in the first 7 rounds it’s probably a sensible decision.

Sam Wright

Set to debut against Geelong, I’m surprised to see him get the call-up so quickly. The Dale Thomas lookalike (in both hair and playing style) from North-East Victoria was earmarked as a development player in the pre-season. While known as a game-breaker, Laids didn’t see him doing it for a season or two at AFL level, particularly with his slight frame. A couple of good matches in the VFL and now he’s thrown to the wolves: Geelong at Geelong. I’m looking forward to seeing how he goes.

Dean Laidley

Just like the team, I wouldn’t write him off just yet. He’s still extracting great performances from on an exciting young list. Deserves at least another year.

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Anzac Day Part II

A drink, some dinner, then off to Docklands. North vs Richmond, one we should win. That makes me nervous, North always play their worst for the gettable games. And Richmond have nothing to loose tonight.

Terry, a through-and-through Tiger, has got there early to save me a seat with his kids. I find myself on centre wing right above the interchange bench, a bay of Richmond fans surrounding me; nothing I’m not used to. By coincidence another Richmond-obsessed mate of mine is two seats away. Terry tells me the old (graceful) duck in front of us can be seen regularly at Coburg matches – these guys are rusted onto their club.

Our group all chips in a dollar to bet on the first Richmond goal scorer. I got the fourth round pick and went with Richie Tambling after Terry tells me that Chris Newman will be starting down back. The players go to take their positions and the bay updates everyone on the key match-ups: Rawlings to Foley, Gibbo to Richo. The informed football commentary is refreshing.

The game starts, and Richmond push forward. But their skills let them down, and North punish the turnovers. Spud drives the ball into the forward-line for two quick North goals. North looking polished, full of run and on their game. I relax a little.

I look around. Richmond supporters’ faces have a deep resignation, their eyes are lost, full of disbelief. “Not Again”. The pain is palpable. I have a little chuckle to myself and cop a few glares. I ask one bloke how he felt coming into the game. “Like rocking up to work: I had to be here, but I really didn’t want to come.” North fans have it pretty easy in comparison to this mob.

Then Boomer struggles off clutching his arm. I grab the wireless – the boundary rider reckons he’s in extreme pain, maybe a broken arm. He goes straight to the rooms. Then Firrito hobbles off. Looks like his foot has flared up again. Straight to the rooms as well. A guilty smirk lights up Terry’s face. “Two down.”

Richmond take back some momentum and Chris Newman kicks Richmond’s first. Terry apologises. No one tipped Newman, so I’m still a chance. Morton kicks the next and one of kids collects the $6 jackpot. Quarter time, North up by 10 points.

The second quarter starts where the first finished, poor skills, missed shots on goal, but momentum with the Tiges. It was starting to get ugly. The fans around me start to find their voice, their faces coming to life again. Richo goes off pointing at his hamstring. No one seems too worried though, looks pretty minor. I feel conflicted – North need to get one back, but Richo is football’s great entertainer.

Firrito emerges back onto the ground but seems to have lost his mojo. Swallow tries amicably. Richmond kick their fifth. Terry reaches into his backpack and pulls out some chocolates; fifth goal tradition. Edwards takes a good grab and kicks one before the siren to wrestle it back to 7 points. (“It’s good to have you back Az.”) The Tigers are far from confident, but nor am I.

The second half gets uglier. Jumping Jack Riewoldt is having a pearler, Deledio has too much pace. The North forward line is dysfunctional, again. Nothing seems to be working for them. Richo comes back on with a slight limp and the crowd goes nuts. I’m really not confident now.

Richmond keep going in the last. Hansen clutches his hamstring, hobbles off and it starts to look like a train wreck. Sam Power, Lindsay Thomas and Ed Lower will be lucky to get a game next week – if it wasn’t for the injuries. Richmond make it a six goal lead, and for the first time, the fans start to relax. A few North supporters start to wander off – poor form in my book.

The siren sounds. The Richmond fans look like they’ve just come out of their last chemo session – exhausted but ecstatic. I stay to hear the song; and what a song it is.

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Who Killed Aaron Edwards?

North’s hard-working forward Aaron Edwards has found himself in the shit again. My question is, who killed him? Here are my suspects:

  • Aaron Edwards – The boy from Samoa hasn’t done himself any favours. After bringing a chequered past to NMFC’s ranks, he was reprimanded in 2007 for getting hammered at a Lionel Richie concert (I personally think the bigger crime was going to see Lionel Richie). Putting aside moral judgements on traffic violations, this latest incident was pretty reckless. Attempting to rock up to training after what must have been a pretty massive night-before isn’t smart. To excessively speed and bring this to the attention of the Vic. fun-stoppers is extremely stupid. Did Edwards bring this on himself? Or is he just stupid?
  • The NMFC Leadership Group – The boys wasted no time in recommending to the Club that Edwards be ousted from the pre-season comp. and the first four rounds of the season-proper. Too harsh? Or are they justifiably pissed-off with Edward’s apparent contempt for pre-season training?
  • The NMFC Administration – The Club accepted the leadership group’s recommendation and will enforce the ban. Again, too harsh? Or did Edwards smear the Club’s name (or that overused word, “brand”) so much that the response is justified?
  • The AFL – Silent on the issue to-date. Silence equals consent. Does the AFL impose unfairly-high moral standards on the kids of the AFL? Or are these “role models” ruining the game’s name and putting off otherwise supportive Mums and Dads from their sons’ involvement in footy?
  • The AFL Players’ Association – Again, silence. Where are they when Edwards needs them most? Or ultimately, do they have no real choice but to stand with the leadership group and the Club?
  • The Media – The pack-hounds sniffed this out and have covered it and similar off-field incidents to death, despite lacking any real journalistic merit. Are the media culpable of racing to the bottom without any ethical considerations? Or are they just giving the people what they want?
  • Rev. Shinboner – By nature of writing this post, I’m just as culpable as the media. Or does my well-considered analysis give me a journalistic edge?

So who killed Aaron Edwards?

The answer is, all or the above and none of the above. But mostly, you (the general public) killed Aaron Edwards.

You’re reading this post, and you lap up any AFL controversy to hit the back (and front) pages of The Hun. You’re feeding the media, who in turn force the hand of the AFL, the Clubs and the AFLPA. Sure Edwards was stupid, but I’ve done some pretty stupid things in my spare time and it’s never affected my career. Frankly, if a cop can get away with speeding, why can’t an AFL footballer? Sure, they cop the same penalty as the rest of us, but why should it affect their career?

Yes, all parties have some culpability in relenting to the hyperbole of the media. And yes, the media seem all too keen to drop their already low ethical standards. But really, if we don’t want this unfair moral imposition on our game’s players, we need to stop feeding the machine. But we don’t. And it gets worse every year. While Dylan Howard got what he probably deserved, there’s a mile-long queue of wannabes waiting to take his place.

The real question is why … why do we keep feeding the machine, but whinge about the unfair moral standards placed on our boys? No easy answers here.

The most valid answer I’ve heard comes from Martin Flanagan. He contends that with the gradual breakdown of community over the last generation, we’re left clinging to a community that’s fabricated around us. That community isn’t a real community at all, it’s the community of celebrity. Here, all we’re left to talk about are a bunch caricatures; cartoon-characters that no-one actually cares about but everyone wants to gossip about. That community is unequivocally fucked.

So I say fuck celebrity culture. And fuck you too. North is trying to re-build a real community, so I suggest you get off your fat-arse and do the same. Otherwise we’ll be left with our once great game becoming a sterile shadow of itself, where players are about as accessible as Brad Pitt and anyone who does anything human is crucified.

So, are you happy you killed Aaron Edwards?


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