In a scrappy contest in front of just over 40,000 fans at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night, North Melbourne helped to celebrate Brent Harvey’s games record with a 23 point victory over St Kilda. Harvey’s 427th VFL/AFL game broke the record held by Hawthorn’s Michael Tuck, and with seemingly plenty left in the tank it would take a brave man to suggest he cannot reach the amazing milestone of 450 league games if he decides to play on next season.
While the game never reached any great heights as a contest, Kangaroos coach Brad Scott would have been delighted with the win that all but assures his team of a place in the finals; something that looked at risk just two weeks ago after the Kangaroos had lost five games in a row. The Kangaroos forwards were simply too good for the Saints defenders, with Drew Petrie, Jarrad Waite and Ben Brown scoring seven goals between them. Petrie arguably had his best game for the season, taking twelve marks and bringing his teammates into the game by crashing into numerous packs in a complete four quarter performance.
The Saints never threatened and at one stage looked like going down by a much larger margin as the Kangaroos stretched their lead out to 40 points late in the game. The Kangaroos controlled the ball with a rejuvenated Todd Goldstein providing excellent service out of the ruck to his prolific midfield led by Ben Cunnington. It was a disappointing performance from a St Kilda team in good form and seemingly on the verge of a charge to the finals. While Seb Ross, Leigh Montagna and Blake Acres worked hard for the Saints, they simply could not get their hands on the ball enough, and when they did, their forward work was wasteful.
With the game all but won in the final quarter, Lindsay Thomas obliged the crowd that had come to see Brent Harvey by handing him the easiest of goals to put the icing on a milestone night for the diminutive but fiery midfielder. The news wasn’t all good for North Melbourne however, as key forward Jarrad Waite appeared to re injure his hip, a complaint that could see the versatile big man miss some game time as the Kangaroos look to solidify their spot in the top eight.
Next up the Kangaroos face a depleted Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night, while the Saints will look to keep their diminishing finals hope alive as they take on Carlton at the MCG on Sunday.
Scoreboard: North Melbourne 2.4 4.7 7.8 12.13 (85) St Kilda 1.4 2.7 3.10 8.14 (62) Best Players: North Melbourne: Cunnington, Petrie, Macmillan, Wells, Swallow, Gibson, Brown St Kilda: Riewoldt, Ross, Acres, Montagna, Roberton
Article last changed on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - 3:55 PM EDT