North win puts focus on AFL shot clock

All North Melbourne needed from Mason Wood at the end of their AFL game was that he did precisely nothing.

The anti-climactic finish to their seven-point win over St Kilda on Sunday shone an uncomfortable light on the shot clock that the AFL brought in for this season.

St Kilda coach Alan Richardson admitted to mixed emotions about the finish after North held on to win 11.16 (82) to 11.9 (75).

With less than a minute left, North led by one point when Wood won a free kick and a shot on goal for his tackle on Jack Newnes.

This season the AFL introduced the 30-second clock on the scoreboard so everyone knew how long a player had for a set shot at goal.

Once the North runner told Wood there were only 22 seconds left until the final siren, he simply stood and watched the seconds tick down.

As Saints fans howled their disapproval, he then kicked an impressive goal from a tight angle on the final siren.

“Was it a good look? I’m not sure, don’t know,” Richardson said.

“But given the rules and given the circumstances, I thought he (Wood) did a really good job.

“It was very well done, given they’re the rules.

“If that had been one of our players, I would have thought ‘gee, great composure young man’.”

Richardson also admitted there was much frustration in the Saints coaches’ box, calling it the longest 30 seconds they have been through.

Saints fans were already fuming after a controversial free kick two minutes earlier.

The free against Tom Hickey for a ruck infringement meant Todd Goldstein could have a 50m shot at goal.

It went wide, but crucially the behind put the Kangaroos in front.

North Melbourne had led by a game-high 26 points early in the last quarter and the match looked over.

But the Saints had a four-goal run that almost allowed them to snatch an improbable win.

Instead, the Kangaroos remain the only unbeaten team after seven rounds.

“We did what we had to do today,” North coach Brad Scott said.

Evergreen Saints captain Nick Riewoldt was best afield with 16 marks and three goals.

Midfielders Jack Ziebell and Ben Cunnington again starred for North, while their tagger Ben Jacobs shut out Jack Steven.

Kangaroos star Daniel Wells was off for most of the last quarter with a leg injury, but he came on for the last few minutes and had two crucial smothers.

Scott said Wells was determined to help the side win to mark Drew Petrie’s 300-game milestone.

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