Thursday, June 23, 2011

2011 1st Half Season Review – North Melbourne Kangaroos

Round 1 – V West Coast Eagles @PS

West Coast Eagles 3.7 6.10 9.12 13.14 92

North Melbourne Kangaroos 4.3 6.5 10.8 13.10 88

The Roos travelled to Perth for the 1st round of the season to play the Wooden Spooners from last year. The Roos only legitimate ruckman Todd Goldstein pulled out hours before the bounce with gastro. This left rookie Elivated Cameron Pederson to ruck against Dean Cox (several time All-Australian). Pederson finished with the impressive numbers of 20 Disposals, 12 kicks and 18 hitouts. Cox finished with 29 hit outs, 29 disposals and 2 goals but for a first gamer Pederson can hold his high. In a twilight game that saw temperatures at 36 degrees the Roos ran out of steam in the last and were pipped at the post by less than a goal, including a contentious free kick to Luke Shuey that put the Eagles up for the win.

Roo Rating: 7 ½ / 10

Daniel Wells

Daniel racked up a modest 19 possies consisting of 14 kicks, 5 handballs and 5 marks. He kicked 1 goal and assisted with 2 more contributing to 3 of the teams 13 goals. Most impressively he kicked the ball inside 50 7 times (I50).

Wells Rating: 7 ½ / 10

Round 2 – Collingwood Magpies @ET

North Melbourne Kangaroos 1.4 2.9 4.12 7.14 56

Collingwood Magpies 5.5 9.8 15.12 21.17 143

Once again the Roo were pumped by a top 4 team. Kicking 2.9 in the first half and 7.14 didn’t help the score either. More accurate kicking may have brought the margin from 87 down to about the 50 range but we were never in this one.

Roo Rating : 3 / 10

Daniel Wells

Daniel got the ball 24 times again kicking it 14 times with 10 handballs and 8 marks. He also had 6 I50’s. Wells would have been one of the best for the Roos on the day but didn’t seem as damaging, I guess this happens when the team is playing poorly.

Wells Rating: 5 / 10

Round 4: v Fremantle Dockers @PS

Fremantle Dockers 5.6 9.9 14.12 18.19 127

North Melbourne Kangaroos 4.3 8.6 9.10 14.14 98

The first 3 matched of the year saw North take on Collingwood and head to the state of Western Australia, so I was never expecting to win them all but I was bitterly disappointed that we blew two games we /could/should have won. I know with a young list there will be lapses in concentration but we lost the game by 29 points and lost the 3rd quarter by 23 points. Kicking 1.4 in the 3rd hurt our chances of being in the game for the 4th (which we won!)

Roo Rating: 7 / 10

Daniel Wells

Daniel continued he good (only good) early season form picking up 26 possies including 12 kicks and 14 handballs. He also kicked 2 goals plus 2 goal assists, contributing 4 goals towards the 14 kicked for the day. 4 I50’s were also handy.

Wells Rating: 7 ½ / 10

Round 5: v Richmond Tigers @ET

North Melbourne Kangaroos 5.1 8.6 12.11 14.19 103

Richmond Tigers 1.3 6.8 10.10 17.10 112

Another blown game and a 0-4 start to the season. This loss is even more disappointing in that the Roos lead at every change but were again run over in the last. 2.8 in the 4th shows the ball was getting I50 but rushed/wasted opportunities killed us. Richmond also did very well kicking 7 straight for the quarter. Drew Petrie starred with 6 goals without a blemish to his name. Swallow was another stand out with a Roo high of 32 possessions, 2 goals, 2 assisted and 5 tackles. It wasn’t enough as the Roos went down by 9 points.

Roo Rating: 7 ½ / 10

Daniel Wells

Daniel picked up 20 possessions including 11 kicks, a goal and only 2 I50’s. This was definitely Wells’ quietest day so far but only 4 Roos managed to get the ball more than him.

Wells Rating: 7 / 10

Round 6: v Port Adelaide Power @ET

North Melbourne Kangaroos 4.5 7.12 13.20 18.25 133

Port Adelaide Power 2.4 4.6 8.9 10.13 73

The Roos notched their first win of the year in style winning each quarter and dominating in most key areas. The only let down was the inaccuracy in front of goal. Lindsay Thomas was the worst culprit with 1.6 to his name. Round 1 in the only time they have kicked more goals than behinds. Accurate kicking would have needed a much larger winning margin. Todd Goldstein dominated with 35 hit outs giving the mid field first use of the ball. This resulted in 11 players getting 20 or more possessions. Harvey was damaging with 24 and 3 goals.

Roo Rating: 8 ½ / 10

Daniel Wells

Daniel was again good but only good with 20 possies including 15 kicks, 6 marks and 5 I50’s. 4 straight games with 20+ possies (19 in the first round) shows the consistency is building up after a good preseason (first in a long time).

Wells Rating: 7 / 10

Round 7: v Geelong Cats @SS

Geelong Cats 4.4 10.5 16.11 19.13 127

North Melbourne Kangaroos 3.3 5.5 8.5 9.7 61

The Roos once again were bent over by a top 4 team and did little to account for themselves. Rawlings and Harvey both had over 30 possies but more than half were handballs and not damaging enough. Petrie also bobbed up with 3 goals. Another startling statistic was the discrepancy of players who have played less than 50 games. No opponent has fielded more <50 game players than North but the Geelong had 4 to North’s 12 (more than half!) North hasn’t fielded less than 11 players in this category which is half their team. No an excuse but an insight into the different stages of development both teams are at.

Roo Rating: 3 / 10

Daniel Wells

Wells had an okay game considering the team output and again had over 20 possessions. His 28 possies consisted of 15 kicks, 13 handballs, 5 marks, 1 goal an assist and 5 I50’s. Definitely one of the best for the Roos but too many passengers on the team.

Wells Rating: 7 ½ / 10

Round 8: v Melbourne Demons @ET

North Melbourne Kangaroos 3.2 7.5 14.7 19.10 124

Melbourne Demons 7.2 8.6 10.10 12.11 83

Richmond, Melbourne and North are often referred to as the young teams coming up through the ranks and are in similar places in their development. Well North blew a golden opportunity to beat the Tigers earlier (they get the chance to redeem themselves in the last round of the year) so this was a must win to prove to the AFL world that they are on the rise and that young recruit will be ready to take over from Boomer in a couple of years. So when Melbourne kicked 7 goals to 3 in the 1st quarter I was worried. Goldstein started to dominate in the ruck and North clawed the deficit back to 7 points at the main break giving some hope to the young group of players. But it was in the premiership 3rd quarter that North took the game and proved they could match it with the teams in the middle of the ladder. They kicked 7 goals to 2 and blew the game apart. Harvey and Wells kicked 3 goals each and Edwards starred with 6 straight. The Roos also shook the monkey off their back of fading in the 4th quarter and kicked almost double the amount of goals to behinds.

Roo Rating: 9 / 10 (despite the 1st qtr not because of it.)

Daniel Wells

Daniel led the Roos with 29 possies including an impressive 21 kicks, 8 marks, 3 goals with 2 assists and 5 I50’s. This was by far the best game for Wells of the year and he often set up the play and started to find his ball as well as lay 6 tackles.

Wells Rating: 9 / 10

Round 9: v Brisbane Lions @G

Brisbane Lions 2.3 4.6 7.10 10.13 73

North Melbourne Kangaroos 2.1 6.7 8.9 8.11 59

This loss was as disappointing as the Tigers one because again they led at the main break and 3qtr time but couldn’t even score a goal in the last qtr. Sure there were some dubious 50 metre penalties but the Roos only have themselves to blame for not putting the game away earlier when they dominated but couldn’t make it could on the scoreboard. For the second week in a row North had less <50 game players than the opposition (I believe 1 or 2 have ticked over into the 50-100 bracket now).

Roo Rating: 5 / 10

Daniel Wells

Daniel had an average game with average stats and average impact. 18 possies saw him dip under the 20 mark for the 2nd time this season.

Wells Rating: 5 / 10

Round 10: v Sydney Swans @ET

North Melbourne Kangaroos 3.4 5.10 7.13 9.17 71

Sydney Swans 1.4 5.8 8.11 10.12 72

Another close loss sees the Roos sitting at 2-6 in what could easily have been 5-3 and a place in the top 8. This is what makes the difference between a young team and a classy outfit of veterans like Geelong who have won several games by less than 10 points. Again inaccurate kicking cost us the game. We had 4 more scoring shots but 9.17 was never going to be enough to win the game. Inaccuracy in the last 5 minutes was painful to watch as the Roos kept rushing shots on goal and either registering points (4 for the qtr) or missing altogether.

Roo Rating: 7 / 10

Daniel Wells

Daniel racked up 26 possies with 14 kicks, 3 marks and a goal. Although Wells did some great things he was also mediocre for part of the game.

Wells Rating: 6 ½ / 10

Round 11: v Adelaide Crows @ET

North Melbourne Kangaroos 6.1 8.3 13.5 18.7 115

Adelaide Crows 2.1 4.4 6.7 10.8 68

The Roos jumped out of the blocks with 6 goals to 2 in the 1st qtr and never looked back. The most marked improvement was the accuracy in front of goal kicking 18.7 through 11 different goal scorers. Swallow hit the headlines with a monster 1st quarter finishing the game with 39 awesome possessions, 2 goals, 5 tackles, 6 I50’s, 27 clearances and 18 contested possessions. This was also the start of a purple patch for Jack Ziebell who is coming off 2 broken legs and 2 seasons and has been managed by Coach Scott particularly in terms of subbing him off. He raked up 25 important possies, a goal 6 I50’s and 11 bone crunching tackles. Much kudos needs to go to ruckman Todd Goldstein who is playing in All-Australian form with his 48 hit outs.

Roo Rating: 9 / 10

Daniel Wells

Daniel added 23 possies to his yearly tally including 15 kicks, 6 marks and 5 I50’s. Wells had 3 less possies than the previous week but had much more impact and played a huge role in the all-important 1st qtr setting the tone for the game.

Wells Rating: 8 / 10

Round 12: v Gold Coast Suns @MS

Gold Coast Suns 0.2 2.4 4.8 9.9 63

North Melbourne Kangaroos 7.3 9.7 14.11 18.14 122

There is a lot of history between the Gold Coast (area) and North. The AFL pushed for a relocation there a few years back and the board denied it and our making sure their home is as Arden St in North Melbourne. This was also a potential danger game as the Suns had been playing good footy and in the only other game played at Metricon Stadium the Sun lead the top of the ladder Cats by as much as 20 points. The Suns fielded 14 <50 gamers to the Roos 11 and it showed in the 1st qtr when they were blown out of the water when the Roos kicked 7 goals for none including 3 in the 1st 3 minutes. Daniel Well starred with 33 possies (very clean despite the torrential rain) and Harvey kicked 4 goals in his Kangaroos Games record breaking match. Aaron Edwards also kicked 5 goals. It was also the 1st time for the year the Roos have back to back games.

Roo Rating: 9 / 10

Daniel Wells

Daniel led North with 33 possies including 20 damaging kicks in the wet, 7 marks, 8 I50’s and 8 tackles. Finally talk of consistency and All-Australian/Brownlow form are starting to be bandies about by the media. Wells has had 20+ possessions in 9 of 11 games with a year low of 18.

Wells Rating: 9 / 10

Round 13: v Essendon Bombers @ET

Essendon Bombers 1.8 6.13 10.17 12.18 90

North Melbourne Kangaroos 5.3 9.3 13.6 17.9 111

This was a huge game in the context of the season. The Bombers started out red hot and were being bandied about as top 4 but 3 straight losses has seen the same media types calling for not even making the 8. The Roos have been the polar opposite with 4 straight losses to start the year and many lost chances calling for North to finish bottom 4. After 3 wins in 4 weeks many are saying 8 is not out of the equation. The Roos started out red hot with 5 goals to nothing (Essendon kicked their only goal for the 1st qtr after the siren). Wells again was on fire and the forwards were working beautifully together with Hansen out and rookie Cameron Pederson in his place. Aaron has been consistently kicking goals since his return from a stint in the VFL but he played more up the ground taken 8 marks outside 50 help contribute to the constant I50’s. Lindsay Thomas shook off his inaccuracy shackles kicking 4.1 and Petrie and Pederson both kicked 3.1 giving the Roos a potent but well spread offense. The Bombers came charging back and even took the lead in the last quarter but the most impressive part of the win was the Roos kicking the final 4 goals and finally running out a game to beat their 1st top 8 side. This win leaves the Roos half a game (a draw) out of the 8 with games against Port Adelaide and St Kilda hopefully setting them up for a tilt at the finals.

Roo Rating: 9 / 10

Daniel Wells

Daniel roamed free in the first qtr and picked up 14 damaging disposals. This was the catalyst to the 5 goals to 1 score line. He ended up with 23 including 14 kicks, 2 marks and a goals. Although Wells went quiet for the middle part of the game he stood up when the game was in the balance taking a crucial mark in Essendon’s forward 50 and repelling the ball several times. If Wells can keep up this form he should be strongly considered for the All-Australian squad and finish top 5 in the Brownlow medal.

Wells Rating: 8 ½ / 10

Overall Kangaroos Rating: 7 / 10

Overall Daniel Wells rating: 8 / 10

Friday, June 17, 2011

Colonel Sun - My 2 cents!!

Colonel Sun - by Kingsley Amis (James Bond)
I just finished my current 'log book' and it was an absolute ripper. Colonel Sun is the 1st installment of the James Bond books post Ian Fleming.

I read every Fleming instalment (bar The Spy Who Loved Me) before tackling an outsiders take on the eponymous hero. Well Kingsley Amis (Under the pseudonym of Robert Markham) quickly pulled me into the story and from there is was a Bond book, nothing more, nothing less.

Kingsley harked back to the earlier cold blooded version of JB and sets him up against a nasty nemesis in the torturing Colonel. The book opens with a brutal abduction attempt on 'M' and James. The villains get away with 'M' but Bond manages to escape with his system full of drugs into the wilderness. We are then whisked to Athens and here the writing really is beautifully descriptive and paints a vivid picture of the location.

The female counter part is Ariadne Alexandrou and she is one of the stronger more interesting bond girls and that's saying something.

Bond tracks down 'M' to the nearby island of  Vrakonisi and interesting things happen getting there but the final showdown is what pulled this up from a 3 and 1/2 star book to at least a 4 star one.

Bond is captured (isn't he always) and the good Colonel explains his plans and how it will be impossible for Bond escape. He then spends some time torturing Bond in the most wicked ways including sliding a metal skewer into Bonds ear until he passes out. I won't go into details but it's fair to say Kingsley and the Colonel don't pull any punches.

I won't give the ending away but I will say the 240odd pages fly by without any dead weight.

I would highly recommend this for readers of; Bond, thrillers and Thomas Harris type stories.

I'll be trying to get my hands on Carte Blanche the new installment written Jeffrey Deaver.

Until then hail to the Greek Islands!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

James Cameron - Movie List

Cameron isn't an auteur or a writing virtuoso. He's no Michael Bay either. (That's a compliment) Sure he knows how to pack a cinemas and for the most part keep them happy. He knows what movie goers want. A spectacle. A visual feast with a hero and an identifiable enemy. He then sets their battles around impressive set pieces. Sure he loves to pick up where someone left off and try to out do it with a sequel. And as hard as it is sometimes he achieves it. Well here's my list, read it, critique it and let me know what you think!
1. The Terminator

2. Aliens

3. True Lies

4. The Abyss

5. T2

6. Titanic

7. Piranha 2: The Spawning

8. Avatar

Terminator - Is an understandable classic of the genre and nailed the tone and aesthetic of the story. Arnie was literally born to play this role. Michael Biehn more than held his own and the concept particularly in the 80's just grabbed audiences. The one-liners work here as they aren't over used and pacing is fantastic. Hasn't dated a bit.
Aliens - Very different from the Ridley Scott original but is just as good in a different way. Here Cameron shows what he can do visually and get a team to display a vision for the common goal. Keeps up with his common theme of very strong female protagonists and the battles are epic. Very close to Terminator but just missed out.
True Lies - If Cameron doesn't understand Arnies strengths and weaknesses then nobody does. Tom Arnold is the perfect foil and more than pulls his weight and Jamie Lee Curtis is at her best. Then in comes 'Wild' Bill Paxton in a cameo that almost steals the show. Quite a clever move also.
The Abyss - I didn't mind this when I first saw this as a youngster but on follow up screenings it is a bloody good flick. Ed Harris used this as a platform to really show his chops and he carries the movie from good to very good. Great effects at the time probably hindered the movie as being too large a budget but if you haven't seen it give it a go.
T2 - We all love the music and the liquid metal and Robert Patrick was a great fit for the role but... It's dated. It's too 90's grunge and Ed Furlong while not being bad isn't great either. Visually another great effort but couldn't crack the top 4.
Titanic - I don't think Cameron was joking when he said on Entourage, 'I just wanted to make girls cry.' It's a chick flick with an impressive sinking ship scene. Kate Winslet does have a nice set of ta-ta's though.
P2 - For a directorial debut in the common ground of horror this is by the numbers and cheesy. The effects aren't great and the acting is worse but I've seen this twice and that more than I'll see Avatar.
Avatar - I may be a victim of the hype or maybe the movie is as bad as I recall. Cameron was very focused on the new technologies and I believe he kept bending a script to stretch the limitations of 3D. Average acting, very average story line with some laughably forced heart and oh my god a sequel I won't be rushing to see.
There you have you may not agree but that's okay that's what make film so interesting.
Until then hail to that dance!