Tag Archives: Adam Simpson

Why North will miss Simmo

Adam Simpson at Arden St

Adam Simpson at Arden St

Adam Simpson will be missed.

After nearly 15 seasons at North Melbourne Football Club, Adam Simpson will hang up the boots after this Friday’s clash against Carlton. One of the game’s most understated champions, Simmo leaves a rich legacy from his time at Arden St.

But he will leave a big vacuum. Continue reading

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A Crisis in Leadership?

Prior to the season began, North installed a new on-field leadership team. Boomer took over the captaincy with Petrie, Rawlings and Pratt the new deputies. A second tier of ‘unit leaders’ were also put in place, as voted by the players: Wells, Harding, Jones, Firrito, Hale and Power.

In looking back after 8 rounds of footy, you have to question their worth as leaders. Harvey, Wells and Pratt have all been hampered by injury, but in the games they have played their form has been patchy.  Jones has been dropped indefinitely and Power is looking down a similar barrel. Petrie and Hale are yet to inspire, and Firrito has not imposed himself in the midfield as hoped. It’s fair to say that of the leadership team, only Harding and Rawlings have delivered. Both have played with intent, courage and leadership.

Interestingly enough, Simmo relinquished captaincy and is now probably leading the club’s best and fairest.

On the weekend, Dean Laidley seemed genuinely happy with how the younger players contributed, despite the 70 point loss. He made a point of saying how ‘coachable’ they are. Veiled criticism of the leadership group? Maybe.

So did the players choose the wrong people? Is it just a matter of form? Or have injuries settled the team?

I reckon it’s a combination of the three.

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Easter Sunday

Easter was a Flinders Island holiday with Lady Shinboner’s family this year, but I’d been looking forward to the footy all week,  particularly after all the off-field distractions. Nothing like a good win over the reigning premiers to kill the sensationalised headlines, I thought.  A ripper day and the stunning view of the beach from the holiday house wasn’t going to stop me enjoy it; satellite television was the only feature of the place that interested me.

North came out angry and held their own early. Hamish had the ruck covered. Simpson and Swallow consistently worked his taps forward. Gibbo was back on Buddy and proving his worth again. A few missed chances, but I was upbeat and relaxed. North weren’t going to let this one slip.

The second quarter tempo seemed to double at about the 5 minute mark. All of a sudden it was a game of run and carry, and no-one was afraid to take ’em on. The Hawks looked more polished. Hodge out of defence and Roughead up front. Mitchell was everywhere. Hansen took a screamer, but the Roos’ forward line couldn’t convert. Then Simmo winded the stuffing out of Hodge and I knew that North were still in it. Lady Shinboner asked if I wanted to go kayaking: “Not today.” 5 goals down at half-time.

Third quarter started with a couple of quick North goals. From marks, which was a nice change. I strapped myself in for a thriller; the boys were gonna make me proud again, win, lose or draw. But then the Hawks run came back and threatened to blow out the margin. North’s disposal was poor, the forward line cluttered and dysfunctional. Rebounds were punished. How’d the Hawks manage to find a paddock up forward? The 6 goal mental barrier was broken – time to visit the fridge.

Last quarter starts. There’s still a chance, I tell myself. Hawks kick the first couple – no chance now.

Then I see something I haven’t seen before. First Pratty, then Thomas and Wells, all lose their shit. Angry muttering, umpire abuse, stupid free kicks. And then Boomer?! This isn’t the team I’ve watched for so long, I thought. It really must have been an extraordinary week. Return trip to the fridge.

Lady Shinboner returns: “How they going?” I should have gone kayaking.

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The Chicken Aftermath

The Age continues to push its damning agenda on the Boris video, this time with Caroline Wilson taking the wheel. I have already made my views on the issue clear (here and here).

While I see Wilson’s general point, her indignation is typically over the top. And I couldn’t let her write this shit below without responding:

Incredibly, it is not even 18 months since James Brayshaw and his new board won the right to fight again for survival at Arden Street. Brayshaw might not have placed a dint in the multimillion-dollar debt nor replaced the Gold Coast fixture money nor located his group of “white knights” but together with his CEO, Eugene Arocca, much has been achieved since the late summer of 2008.

Brayshaw and Arocca have reduced NMFC’s interest bearing debt from $4.37m to $3.25m – a lot more than a dint. And the GC fixture money was replaced, to some extent, by the largest sponsorship deal in the club’s history (Mazda). Caro – this backhander is misleading and irresponsible. I have defended you in the past but this is indefensible. Lift your game.

Of more interest to me are a couple of twists to the Boris story revealed in another article (Caro Wilson with Sam Lane). First, that Adam Simpson would have retired from the game last Thursday had Mazda pulled out of the sponsorship agreement, and that Andrew Demetriou personally contacted Simmo to convince him to stay. Full-on.

Second, that it was a club staff member that posted the video online – not a player (as previously reported)! WTF!?! I am literally speechless.

Finally, in wrapping up this morning’s chicken media, I can’t ignore an article in today’s Hun by Jason Akermanis doing what he does best – telling it like it is. Like most of Aker’s commentary, I don’t agree with everything he says, but his opinion is well-considered and unquestionably honest – a rarity among the media trained players of today. And he brings the sort of perspective that The Age and much of the media have been lacking this last week – something I rarely say about The Hun. Thanks for keeping it real Aker.

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Round 2 Wrap

North Melbourne: 1.5  3.6  7.8  9.11 (65) lost to the
Western Bulldogs: 3.6  4.10  8.13  11.14 (80)

With the advent of Docklands, it seems like a rarity to watch wet weather football. But both sides had to reassess normal game plans today due to intermittent downpours at the ‘G, with slippery conditions creating problems for everyone involved.

The first half, where most of the rain fell, was riddled with errors – both teams fluffing a number of chances. But North seemed to take longer to adjust than the Dogs, playing a bit too cute at times resulting in some punishing turnovers. Brad Johnson’s polish was the difference at half time, kicking three of the Dogs’ 4 goals.

The second half continued with similarly lacklustre skills, penetration and finish; and soon the Dogs were 28 points up. But then something started to happen. North lifted. Campbell, Thomas and Wells – all inside North’s forward 50 – started creating. All of a sudden the gap was just 11 points at 3 quarter time with the crowd sensing momentum with North.

And the last quarter delivered the cracker football the fans smelt. All the run was with the Roos – Footscray’s kicking into the forward line was errant, and North’s rebound was exhilarating to watch. All of a sudden it was a 2 point ball game. The Dogs turned it over on the wing, North were on the counter-attack and Scotty McMahon – solid all day – dropped what he should have taken 45m out on a slight angle. And that was the ball game. The Dogs kicked the next two in quick succession and North’s run stopped.

Post Match Thoughts:

  • ‘Hunter’ S. Thompson – A bit patchy in the first half, but did some great stuff thereafter. Kept Johno goalless after half-time and provided some run from the backline.
  • Matty ‘Flash’ Campbell – Won’t feature on the stats sheet, but gee he was creative. Was often the marking option against 2-3 talls, but still managed to make something of it.
  • Lindsay Thomas – See above. (Sorry, I know they are two very different people, but their contribution today was almost identical.)
  • Hamish McIntosh – Backed up last week’s BOG with a strong around the ground performance.
  • ‘Boomer’ Harvey – It’s not often he’s well down on his best two weeks running, but that’s what’s happened. I’m tipping some anger against the Hawks next week.
  • ‘Spud’ Firrito – I love seeing him playing through the middle like he did today. Didn’t dominate, but he’s bloody handy when you need a pack broken open.
  • Andrew Swallow – Again proved himself a must-have clearance player.
  • Jack Ziebel – Did enough in the second half to want him back next week.
  • Adam Simpson – Keeps doing what he does best.
  • Todd Goldstein – his selection seems a little perplexing. While he wasn’t terrible, playing 4 big men always seemed a weird choice against the Dogs, and with the weather the way it was, almost ridiculous. Ben Ross seemed a more likely game breaker.

Laidley seemed happy with the showing. And in many respects, I was too. A shame not to grab the points in the end, but there was nothing in it. It was frustrating to wait for two and half quarters before seeing North take the game on, but frickin’ great to watch when they did. With such an inexperienced lineup (which the Junk Yard Dog keeps emphasising) it is understandable.

At the end of the day, North were able to sort out their structures and gameplan in time to win the match – fate just bounced the ball the wrong way a couple of times. Their fitness and decision-making was solid in a frentic final quarter and a half, and the new defence did well once settled. Given a few more matches and more consistent 4 quarter efforts, I’m thinking we’ll see North beat most teams this season.

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