Kangas beat Bulldogs in thrilling finish - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kangas beat Bulldogs in thrilling finish

By Adam Cooper 25/05/2008 09:47:45 PM Comments (0)

North Melbourne coach Dean Laidley didn't see the kick and his champion rover Brent Harvey might not remember it.

But Western Bulldogs skipper Brad Johnson will play the moment over and over in his mind as his missed set shot after the final siren resulted in his side's first loss this AFL season.

It also secured the Kangaroos a remarkable victory at Telstra Dome.

Johnson marked 40 metres out on a slight angle one second from full-time and, with his side four points down, had the chance to extend the Doggies' unbeaten streak.

But with almost every North player either on the mark or in the goalsquare, and Kangaroos fans madly waving anything they could behind the goals, Johnson put the shot wide and put his head in his hands as the Roos celebrated.

North's 16.17 (113) to 16.14 (110) win capped a superb comeback from a depleted side and gave Harvey a memorable finish in his 250th game.

But Harvey is unlikely to recall everything, as he was knocked senseless by a knee to the head early in the match, and looked like spending the game watching stars.

Harvey rose to boot two inspiring goals - including the one which put his side in front early in the final quarter - and North kept coming, and pinched a third close win this season, which gave them a 5-3-1 record.

Laidley praised his players' spirit, especially after star midfielder Daniel Wells hobbled off with a knee injury in the third quarter, although he admitted he walked out of the coaches' box before Johnson took his final kick.

"I thought 'Well, that's what happens'," Laidley said.

"I thought we did everything that we possibly could. I thought we played super footy and if that had of happened, well...

"I usually use the elevator to keep out of harm's way, but it broke on us this afternoon, so halfway down the aisle all I saw was our boys put their hands in the air."

From there, Laidley raced on to the ground to congratulate his players, who fought back from four goals down at half-time and 11 points adrift at the final change.

The Kangaroos booted the first two goals of the last quarter, lost the lead when Jason Akermanis booted his fourth goal, but rallied again through Ed Lower, who dobbed a goal on the run, and Drew Petrie, who booted his third after starting the game in defence.

Wells aside, the Bulldogs had the more skilful players in Adam Cooney, Ryan Griffen, Akermanis and Robert Murphy (three goals), but North's players worked harder, longer.

Adam Simpson, Brady Rawlings, Hamish McIntosh, Nathan Thompson and Leigh Harding led the way, and Harvey provided the inspiration.

Harvey returned to the field about 15 minutes after he was flattened, and 10 minutes later, took three bounces, baulked an opponent and kicked the goal to signal his side was up for a fight.

The Kangaroos' efforts meant they deserved luck, and Johnson obliged.

The normally reliable goal kicker also botched an easy chance in the final quarter, when he ran in and hit the post, and then missed another set shot two minutes later.

Johnson eventually booted a goal which reduced the margin to four points, but unlike his 300th game - in round one, when his three late goals sunk Adelaide - he could not be the hero again.

"He's a bit disappointed, no doubt about that," said Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade.

"You would think that there's not too many other blokes in the team who'd be safer, but anyway, that's the way it goes.

"At the end of the day that's the thing that loses the game, but it's not really, there was a lot of other factors during the game and individual efforts, but unfortunately it comes down to that last kick."

Wells is likely to be sidelined for two games after injuring a medial ligament.

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