Another heartbreaker result for the North Melbourne Kangaroos as the Fremantle Dockers snatched a last minute victory from the jaws of defeat in consecutive weeks following their comeback win last week over the Demons. The Dockers prevailing 67-62.
The Dockers opened up the game with the opening two goals but slowly and surely North ground their way back into the game to tie the scores at the first change of ends with many opportunities for both teams going begging which prepared the audience for another of those energy sapping dour contests.
The second quarter was dominated by the winless Kangas as Freo could barely break into their forward 50. The Dockers in Q2 posted had just three opportunities that lead to a paltry three behinds. North on the other hand, tried to find numerous avenues with midfield control, scoring 4.2 with two free kicks goals from reckless high tackles from the Dockers. Rookie Jy Simpkin slotting a gem from the tight angle and ruckman Todd Goldstein converting from point blank range. Ben Cunnington was one of the prime ball winners along with vice Captain Jamie MacMillian. Ex-Magpie Marley Williams was providing great rebound all night long.
One of the highlights of the game emerged from Taylor Garner who lept shoulder high to secure a chest mark which would make the former Richmond spearhead of days gone by, Michael Roach, proud. Despite the dominant quarter where North kicked their sixth consecutive goal of the game, the lead was only a meager 23 points at half time meaning it wasn’t safe as the Roos have proven to run out of gas by all indications of previous outings.
In the later stages of the tiresome third quarter where North could only manage a solitary goal to extend their lead to 29 points, the Dockers converted two consecutive goals from free kicks which North players clearly showing signs of fatigue wearing thin to narrow the margin to 15 points for the last change of ends.
Fremantle had a come from behind victory last week against the Demons and this week at home, they were every chance to repeat the dose as the momentum was slowly shifting their way despite having many of their star players not playing too well for much of the game.
In a gripping final quarter, it was down to which team had the required poise to carry their respective team over the line. North had led for 81% of the game but statistics like these count for zero if opportunities inside the forward 50 are not converted. North were seemingly on the fringe of victory when ex-Bulldog Nathan Hrovat snapped truly to give North a marginal 8 point buffer half way into the last quarter. It was clear that plenty players were running on empty as time on approached and with no goals scored in the following eleven minutes after the Hrovat snap.. could North hang on was the intriguing question.
The Dockers suddenly found a second wind and a sway of numbers pushed forward as the clock was ticking fast…. defender Michael Johnson swooped to scrubber an open goal to pull the margin back to one point as North were looking extremely shaky with three stars getting running repairs. Another forward thrust by the desperate Dockers proceeded as the game urgency meter was in the red, a lucky snap from the forward pocket by former Cat, Shane Kersten who barely touched the ball all game put the Dockers in front with less than a minute remaining. North were unable to find the reply in the remaining winding seconds to fall short once again.