AFL Round 18 North Melbourne v Richmond: Cam Zurhaar six goals, Jy Simpkin video by David Noble

North Melbourne have stunned Richmond and opened wide the top-eight race with a win dedicated by one of their stars to former trainer David Noble.

The caretaker coach strikes again, with serious help from Cameron Zurhaar and a pathetically inefficient Richmond.

Leigh Adams, like Rhyce Shaw against the same Tigers three years ago, got off to a flying start to his coaching career on Saturday as North Melbourne won for the second time in 21 games.

The Kangaroos ended a hellish week with a four-point triumph after coach David Noble was fired midweek after just five wins in 38 games.

In the craziest match of the year, Zurhaar reclaimed the lead for the Kangaroos in the final three minutes after Richmond was likely to break heart for their last-placed opponent.

It was Zurhaar’s sixth goal – he fired five by half-time – and left him an undisputed hero.

In an insane finish fitting for an odd afternoon at Marvel Stadium, the Tigers marked the ball down the middle twice in the dying minutes, only to terribly turn over the Sherrin each time.

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But there is one moment that Richmond fans, players and coaches will remember above all others.

Jake Aarts, who came on as a medical substitute when Josh Gibcus was substituted with a shoulder injury, marked the ball inside 50 in the final minute, with the Tigers five minutes behind.

With nothing but grass in front of him, Aarts unwisely chose to play on and was brought down in a tackle when Richmond scrapped just one deficit from the game.

It’s been a costly fortnight for the Tigers, who spat out a 40-point second-half lead in a post-siren loss to Gold Coast last week.

You are now in a ladder logjam and in danger of missing the finals again.

After squandering a 29-point buffer late in the third quarter against Collingwood seven days ago, the Roos once again faced a furious rebellion.

Paul Curtis ended North Melbourne’s exciting first half with a brilliantly contested mark and a goal after the siren to give his side a game-heavy 32-point lead.

Five Zurhaar goals from as many touches – three of them by snap – and 22 exits from Jy Simpkin inspired the Kangaroos to take the lead at the main break.

Simpkin ended up with 34 divestitures, 18 contested holdings, nine releases, and nine score holdings.

But Richmond returned to the contest once it corrected its shaky radar in front of goal.

After hitting a barely believable 3.15 early in the third quarter, a set shot from Jayden Short accelerated the Tigers’ rally.

They kicked 6.1 from their next seven shots on goal and were within 10 points when Noah Balta slammed through a 50-yard goal after the three-quarter siren.

Richmond’s onslaught on goals continued into the final term, even as Jack Riewoldt added two more deficits to his 2.6-point tally, and the result seemed inevitable for North Melbourne when Graham truly kicked.

But there was always another twist that day when the kangaroos walked away with a rare smile in an otherwise nightmarish time of year.

Wildly contrasting efficiency

None of the North Melbourne players should be lacking in motivation after the events of this week and frankly all season, but the Tigers made it easier for them to make a statement.

Richmond pulled off a lazy 0.6 from shots within 40 yards in the first half, with Jack Riewoldt among the worst offenders, while co-captain Tony Nankervis missed a rushed shot from the top of the goal square.

Meanwhile, the Roos stepped up from their first eight shots on goal until Jack Ziebell spoiled their perfect evening midway through the sophomore.

They went into half-time with a 10-2 (62) score as impressive first-year player Paul Curtis scored his second after beating Nick Vlastuin.

The tigers at this point? 3.12(30), including an accurate Liam Baker bomb from over 50m.

They added three more backers to start the third term before shaking Jayden Short by a set shot that seemed to end the rot.

“This is for you Nobes”

An emotional Simpkin dedicated the win to his former coach.

After the vibrant four-point triumph, a proud Simpkin was quick to acknowledge Noble’s lingering influence.

“We owe it to Nobes, he’s been there for the last few years working his ass off to improve this group and put us on our way,” the star midfielder told Fox Footy.

“So this is Nobes for you guys, you deserve it.”

The star midfielder also praised the playing group’s resilience after another difficult week.

“It’s an amazing feeling, we’ve had so much to do, not just this week but over the past few years, it’s been so tough,” Simpkin said.

“I’m just so proud of the boys, I could cry right now.”


Kangaroos 4.0, 10.2, 12.2, 14.8 (92)

TIGER 2.5, 3.12, 8.16, 11.22 (88)


Kangaroos: Zurhaar, Simpkin, Stephenson, Anderson, Davies-Uniacke, McKay.

Tigers: Prestia, Nankervis, Cotchin, Cumberland, Short.


Kangaroos: Zurhaar 6, Curtis 3, Young, Stephenson, Scott, Simpkin, Goldstein.

Tigers: Cumberland 3, Riewoldt 2, Baker, Short, Rioli, Balta, Miller, Graham.

INJURIES Kangaroos: Larkey (foot/ankle). Tiger: Gibcus (shoulder).

REFEREE Findlay, Pell, Rebeschini

VENUE Marvel Stadium



3 C. Zurhaar (NM)

2 J.Simpkin (NM)

1 J. Stephenson (NM)

Originally published as AFL Round 18 North Melbourne v Richmond: All News, Action and Consequences AFL Round 18 North Melbourne v Richmond: Cam Zurhaar six goals, Jy Simpkin video by David Noble

Nate Jones

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