NORTH MELBOURNE 0.5.2 0.7.6 (48) RICHMOND 0.4.3 0.6.8 (44)
GOALS: North Melb: Black 2, Harvey 2, Ziebell, Thomas, Daw. Richmond: Riewoldt 2, S Edwards 2, Ellis, Jackson.
UMPIRES Findlay, Bannister, Fisher
Young North Melbourne defender Shaun Atley appeared for the Roos in both contests last night, particularly good against Melbourne and backing up against the Tigers. Easy to understand after a good day in which the club announced his re-signing for another three years until the end of the 2015 season. Last year was a breakout season for the half-back and last night was a good pointer to more good form this year.
GIVE 'EM SOME CURRIE
If North supporters had any concerns about a potential lack of support for No. 1 ruckman Todd Goldstein after the departure of veteran Hamish McIntosh for Geelong, they should be breathing a little easier this morning after the good performance of former Sydney big man Daniel Currie. The Swans couldn't find room for the ruckman over five seasons, but he's back in the AFL after a good year with North Adelaide, and won his share of taps against Richmond's Tom Derickx.
Footy fans of an older vintage will remember Fitzroy bundle of energy Mick Conlan and his penchant for fending off opponents with the outstretched hand. Majak Daw couldn't possibly look any different to the barrel-chested Lion, but channeled memories of him when he went on a run in the first half. Confronted by Tiger Steve Morris, he stuck out a hand and bowled the defender over before slamming the ball home for a goal that brought Roos fans to their feet.
Youngster shines for Richmond
Richmond has nine players from other AFL clubs on its books this year, but one addition who could also have an impact was picked up at the draft table. Nick Vlastuin is still only 18, but looked a very likely customer last night, ending with as many disposals as any teammate, nearly half of them contested. Captain of Vic Metro in last year's under-18 championships, Vlastuin has shown at junior level a liking for the harder stuff, and seems quite capable of carrying that over into the higher level.
Some NAB Cup rules work better than others, and the last-to-touch free kick, not for the first time, caused some angst last night. Daniel Jackson was the beneficiary, though North's Will Sierakowski may have been a tad unlucky, his misery compounded when the ball wasn't returned properly, and he conceded a 50-metre penalty. Jackson exploited his fortune to the full, too, slamming through a goal.
RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME
Shane Edwards kicked a couple of goals for the Tigers and missed a last-second chance to pinch victory, at least offering a small forward goalkicking option. Both, though, were the result of fantastic work further afield. Edwards' first came after a superb tackle from Ty Vickery on North's Luke Delaney. The second came after an inspired piece of thinking from Jack Riewoldt, who threaded a beautiful handball through a gap between two North defenders.
KANGAROOS HOLD ON
In easily the most entertaining of the three games, Richmond and North Melbourne traded goals for two halves, both hitting back just when they looked in trouble. The Tigers held a 13-point lead late in the first half with Jack Riewoldt looking dangerous and Shane Edwards booting a couple of quick goals, but the Roos hit back with three of their own to Lindsay Thomas, Brent Harvey then Aaron Black. Both sides added two each in the second half and after Jack Ziebell brought the Roos within one point, it was Black who saw them home with a goal from 35 metres with just 40 seconds left. A desperate snap from Tiger Edwards on the siren missed, leaving Richmond four points in arrears.