AS FORMER Brisbane Lions coach Leigh Matthews famously said of the dominant Essendon side in 2001, “if it bleeds we can kill it”.
North City bled on Saturday and now other teams in the league will be looking to strike the killer blow.
It was the result the Ballarat Football League needed.
As even as the competition is this year (and that’s not just a throw-away line), there was always the school of thought that North Ballarat City had a lock for the premiership – the only question was by how much.
Not any more.
Sunbury’s dismantling of the undefeated powerhouse on Saturday was huge not just for the Lions, but for the league as a whole.
Yes, it was only one game of football and North Ballarat City has established itself as undeniably the most professional side in the BFL over the space of the past few years.
Until Saturday, there was something of an air of invincibility surrounding the reigning premiers.
To say they are vulnerable would be an overreaction, but they were exposed by some brilliant football on Saturday, led by Bendigo Gold-listed pair Jack Sheahan and Daniel Toman.
It will take brilliance to knock off North Ballarat City, especially if they are able to get anywhere near a full team out on the park by season’s end.
But, as we saw, it can certainly be done.
North City has an extremely tough run home, which is fair enough for the reigning premiers, playing all five top teams in their final six games.
Ballarat, Redan and Darley should be watering at the mouth to attack the Northies, not to mention Sunbury again in just six weeks time.
They have certainly bled, but can North Ballarat City be killed?
Just for the record, Brisbane Lions went on to defeat Essendon in the 2001 grand final.