I’ve never experienced a season quite like this one and no, I’m not referring to the Essendon saga, well, maybe I am indirectly.
As you would know, it’s all about playing finals for us players and ultimately, winning a premiership.
While we trot out the old cliche, “we’re just taking it one week at a time”, the truth is, we’re always thinking about September.
So for us at North Melbourne, it’s been a year of absolute torment.
It’s been like handing a child a lollypop, only to take it back off them just before they’ve had a chance to lick it.
Normally, you’d know by the half-way mark of the home-and-away season whether you’re a chance to feature in the pointy end of the season.
This year however, it’s going right down to the wire for us because of Essendon.
As it sits right now, we could snatch ninth spot from Carlton if we win our last two games against Hawthorn and Collingwood, providing the Blues lose at least one of theirs against Essendon or Port Adelaide.
We are just one game behind them on the ladder and have 36 points but boasta far superior percentage with 122.
If we get ninth and Essendon lose all its points, then we’d be elevated to eighth.
So somehow, there’s still some life left in the Roo-boys yet.
If it was any other year, we still would have had the finals scenario strung out due to a bottle neck on the ladder and the fact that several teams were vying for a top eight spot.
After we defeated Melbourne and Geelong in rounds 18 and 19 respectively, everything looked promising.
Adelaide had been beaten by Port and we were a chance to leap frog a few sides and make our run.
It was all set up for us and we only had to beat Adelaide to really make the push, but we failed dismally.
Leaving AAMI Stadium following our defeat to the Crows, I thought it was definitely season over, again.
Just like I had thought in round 11 after we lost to the Suns, round 13 after our loss to Fremantle, round 16 after our loss to Brisbane Lions and round 17 when we lost to Carlton.
However, much to my surprise, our season’s flame is still flickering.
I would rather not have to contemplate the Essendon debacle and view it as an opportunity for us, but there’s another cliche we also like to use these days, ‘it is what it is’.
If we can use the Bombers’ potential plight as motivation, then we will.
At this time of year, I’ll take anything to keep the hunger alive because when you know your year is over but you still have to run out and play, it’s incredibly tough. There’s nothing worse than knowing you should be playing for a finals spot, but instead, you’re just trying to drag yourself over the line and edge ever closer to a break.
So we wait in hope.
We hope we keep winning.
We hope Carlton loses and we hope the AFL flexes its muscles sooner rather than later.
North Melbourne vice-captain Drew Petrie was drafted from North Ballarat Rebels in 2000. He played his junior football with Ballarat Swans.