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North Melbourne Hang on for Dramatic Victory over West Coast



Kangaroos Seize Control

North Melbourne kicked off the Alastair Clarkson era with a dramatic five-point win over West Coast, setting off early alarm bells for the Eagles. The wooden-spooners from last season seized control of the game with an unanswered six-goal burst in the first half and hung on to seal the win in front of 21,274 fans at Marvel Stadium. Spearhead Nick Larkey kicked six goals while Luke Davies-Uniacke set the tone around the ground with 32 disposals and 11 clearances.

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Impressive Debut for Sheezel

No.3 draft pick Harry Sheezel impressed off half-back with 34 disposals, the most by a VFL/AFL debutant in almost four decades. Meanwhile, recruit Griffin Logue and veteran Jack Ziebell marshalled the Kangaroos’ defence admirably. The makeshift ruck duo of Hugh Greenwood and Charlie Comben also battled well against Bailey Williams after Tristan Xerri was substituted out with an ankle injury late in the first quarter.

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Lacklustre Eagles

West Coast left themselves with plenty of work to do after a dire first half where they lacked impetus around the contest, moved the ball slowly, and looked scattered when the Kangaroos surged forward. Only key defensive duo Jeremy McGovern and Tom Barrass limited the damage down back while Liam Ryan, Luke Shuey, and Dom Sheed were crucial to their third-quarter resurgence.

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Early Ascendancy for West Coast

Larkey booted the game’s first goal, but it was West Coast who took the early ascendancy with Jack Darling threading a wonderful goal from the boundary to give the Eagles a 12-point lead. However, this only seemed to spur the Kangaroos on, and they booted the next six goals, with only North’s inefficiency around goal and McGovern and Barrass keeping the lacklustre Eagles in the game.

Eagles’ Surge Not Enough

West Coast trailed by 21 at the main break and the Kangaroos then booted the first two goals of the third quarter to take a 33-point lead. This sparked the Eagles into action, and they kicked three of the next four goals to cut the three-quarter time deficit to just 15 points, before adding the first of the final quarter. Although the Eagles surged back with Ryan and Noah Long striking in quick succession and skipper Shuey winning a high free kick to cut the deficit to three points, the Kangaroos held on for the win.

Other Notable Performances

Aside from Larkey and Davies-Uniacke’s impressive performances, 18-year-old Harry Sheezel shone in his first game for North Melbourne. Playing off half-back, Sheezel looked composed and unaffected by the enormity of the occasion to finish with 34 disposals, the most by a debutant since Greg Williams picked up 38 in his first game in 1984. The return of Oscar Allen from a foot injury was also hotly anticipated, and the key forward finished with two goals from 89% game time.


In the spirit of reconciliation, the AFL acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.



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