Round 8 – Port Adelaide v North Melbourne: Transmitting Defeat

Port Adelaide v North Melbourne

By Josh Barnstable

When the fixture was first released last November, my eyes were drawn to Round 8 of a Saturday afternoon. Port Adelaide v North Melbourne from AAMI Stadium, on free to air telly on a Saturday! Beating the likes of Hawthorn v Fremantle and even Sydney v Melbourne.

Fast forward to the present day, and to my horror, I am scheduled to work at the radio station One FM on Saturday afternoon, meaning I’ll miss the game. What I do on a Saturday at the station consists of playing the advertisements at the end of each quarter and where else needed, providing an around-the-grounds score check from the local leagues in the regional area of north-east Victoria, while also collating every score from seniors, reserves, thirds and fourths’ games, as well as all leagues of netball scores, in the Goulburn Valley Football League, Picola North West + South East divisions, Murray Football League and the Kyabram District Football League. That’s a lot of games! These scores are read out by me at 5:30pm under the name of ‘Super Saturday Sports Scoreboard’, quite a painful sentence to say with a lot of enthusiasm. The microphone is usually covered in spittle by this point.

The old man that I work with, who rings all the clubs for the scores, had recently quit, so an inexperienced mother of a boy who is doing work experience with me on Saturdays has taken up the role. Not knowing anything about football, 9.9.63 and 16.15.111 are foreign numbers to her. So my workload has increased tenfold in the past couple of weeks, but it didn’t stop from following the football.

I had to catch a ride to town with Mum, who was working from 10am to 2pm, so I could get a lift to Shepparton for work at 3pm. Another half hour up for my L’s. After killing a bit of time walking around town, taking in the spring air when it isn’t even winter yet, I sat in the car for the start of the game on the radio. The Roos started strongly, and Drew Petrie had the first before 90 seconds had passed. The Power responded quickly, but we dominated all the play forward of centre. Petrie got another, and Ben Warren, in his first game of 2012, kicked the ball off the ground from the goalsquare to extend the lead to 13 points. With the Power finding it hard to get their hands on the footy, I was feeling confident already. Knowing the boys would’ve gotten a massive rocket after the Mothers’ Day debacle against the Western Bulldogs last weekend, I was almost certain we’d bank the four points. Jay Schulz not only kept Port’s hopes high, but he put them in front with three consecutive majors, and it was clear our defence was in for a tough day yet again. The captain nailed one before quarter time, but it was met with swift reply from Kane Cornes, and the home side had the lead at quarter time.

By this stage Mum had finished work, and I was in the drivers seat travelling along the Goulburn Valley Highway. We dominated the beginning of the quarter, yet again, but couldn’t capitalise, again. Four behinds, one to Lindsay Thomas from 30m out, had me threatening the radio. Thomas made up for it with two quick goals, and both sides kicked one each before half time to give North a nine point lead at half time. Arriving at work, I had resigned myself to the fact that I would have to follow the game through, a good website for Supercoach scores and, most importantly, a written commentary of the match.

After a brief half time report by myself, and the declaration that North Melbourne were ‘in control of proceedings’ at AAMI Stadium, I tuned into the website to see scores level, eight minutes into the third term. Three in a row to Petrie, Jack Ziebell and Daniel Wells had me a little at ease. I watched as not much action takes place on the scoreboard, and we lead by 21 points at three quarter time. I was confident in the boys taking out the rest of the match.

Harvey kicks the opener of the final term, just after I was lamenting his latest performance. Is his time up? I think we won’t be seeing the number 29 running around in 2013. Jay Schulz replied with his fourth, but Petrie booted goal number five, followed by Cam Pedersen putting the nail in the coffin to give us a 32 point lead. Even after five minutes have passed, and we still lead by over five goals, I start to feel a little happy about the likely win. I’m not cheering and full of smiles, that’s for sure. I was hoping we’d pummel Port by at least eight goals. Then I start reading the written commentary, hoping to see more North names in action.

Schulz goals from a set shot at 35m. Still time enough if good enough for Port. (Q4 12:14)

Haha, surely not.

Schulz marks again at the hotspot from a Matt Thomas pass. He goals again. (Q4 15:14)

Hmm, who’s on him?

Westhoff marks at 40m on the flank and slots it. Three kicks in it with 7:27 left! (Q4 18:49)

Shit. We need a goal!

Pfeiffer marks at 60m out in the corridor, has options, dodges Goldstein on the mark and goes himself… for a bad miss. (Q4 21:15)


Brad Ebert breaks up the kick in, McCarthy runs down the flank to 40m and misses as well. (Q4 21:15)

Get the ball away from defence!

Boak bananas a behind from 30m on the flank. 3:25 left. (Q4 24:17)

They’re gonna hit the mark sooner or later.

Luke Delaney kicks in but McCarthy chips in front of Bastinac to mark 30m out… but he misses too! (Q4 25:14)

Oh my god! We’ve been terrible at the kick-ins all year. Get Brad McKenzie in there.

Broadbent passes to the diving Schulz at 45m on the flank. Schulz goals! (Q4 26:46)

No! Surely we can’t lose this. Finals is on the line!

A few agonising minutes pass, before:

Paul Stewart marks at 55m on a slight angle, shrugs the Firrito tackle and measures the shot from 40m… it’s good! Port are in front! (Q4 29:15)

Shit! What the hell North? We were 32 points up 15 minutes ago.

43 seconds left! (Q4 29:15)

Time enough to win it. C’mon Goldstein, c’mon Swallow.

Swallow clears from the centre bounce but Petrie can’t mark 40m out, stoppage at CHF with 26 seconds left. (Q4 29:15)

Ah, Drew! We need you now Boomer.

Another stoppage, 18 seconds left. (Q4 30:44)

Time is running out.

Another stoppage, 10 seconds left. (Q4 30:44)

This is it. Now or never.

Swallow taps forward but Hartlett gathers and runs outside 50, the siren sounds! Amazing Port win! (Q4 30:44)

Turning my mic back on, I give an update of the AFL scores at three quarter time of the broadcast game. My voice is missing any enthusiasm it had earlier in the afternoon.

Port Adelaide 5.1—6.2—8.6—14.11.95

North Melbourne 4.1—7.5—11.9—14.9.93


Port Adelaide – Schulz 7, Cornes, Broadbent, Brett Ebert, Jacobs, P Stewart, McCarthy, Westhoff

North Melbourne – Petrie 5, Wells 2, Thomas 2, Ziebell, Harvey, Pedersen, Warren, Swallow


Port Adelaide – Schulz, Pearce, McCarthy, Renouf, Brad Ebert

North Melbourne – Swallow, Wells, Petrie, Ziebell


14, 508 at AAMI Stadium


3: Jay Schulz (PA)

2: Andrew Swallow (NM)

1: Daniel Wells (NM)

About John Harms

John Harms is a writer, broadcaster, publisher, historian, speaker and teacher. He loves stories.

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