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Opposition Watch: Round 23 v North Melbourne Kangaroos

Michael Gosman  August 23, 2017 11:17 AM

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Our final opposition for 2017, the North Melbourne Kangaroos, have had a tough back end to the season, winning just one of their past 11 games. 

With a considerable injury toll and up against a desperate St Kilda Saints outfit looking to stay in finals contention, Round 22 was always going to be a tough battle for the Kangaroos. 

Add in the fact that the match was also serving as Nick Riewoldt’s home farewell and the odds were looking increasingly against the Shinboners.

The first quarter was an even battle between the two sides, with North playing efficient football to lead by five points at the first change. 

Any thoughts of a close match were blown away in the second quarter when the Saints finally got rolling.

The Saints enjoyed 15 scoring shots to North’s two, but only kicked 4.11 to head into half time 23 points up, when it could have been a much greater lead. 

St Kilda’s advantage grew throughout the third and fourth quarters, with North unable to match it around stoppages (-15) and clearances (-19). The final score finished 18.19 (127) to 12.6 (78).

AFL 2017 Round 22 - St Kilda v North Melbourne

As a tough season nears an end, Kangaroos Coach Brad Scott was philosophical about the result.

"They completely turned the game around inside the contest after quarter-time and we were very reactive in the stoppages after that, and they really got on top of us and then outworked us from there," Scott said.

"We tried to peg it back in the second half, but again, St Kilda were very clean and very crisp with their movement away from the contest, and I thought that was the most significant difference between the sides."

Shaun Higgins and Ben Cunnington found plenty of the ball for the Kangaroos, collecting 32 and 36 touches each. Key forward Ben Brown chipped in with two majors.

The loss leaves North in 17th place on the AFL ladder, equal on points with the Brisbane Lions but with a slightly better percentage.

Injury List

North Melbourne have a number of injury concerns heading into Saturday’s match.

A whopping nine players are listed as tests: Braydon Preuss (shoulder), Todd Goldstein (eye/knee), Cam Zurhaar (back), Jarrad Waite (calf), Jack Ziebell (foot), Mason Wood (calf), Corey Wagner (ankle), Dan Nielson (concussion), Nick Larkey (knee). 

Lions Health Centre: Injury List

Goldstein appears unlikely to play, while Waite, Wood and Wagner are hopeful of playing.

A further nine players are out for the season, including Majak Daw and Marley Williams. 

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