NORTH MELBOURNE 6.1 12.2 19.4 24.5 (149)
CARLTON 3.4 6.9 9.9 14.12 (96)
North Melbourne has emphatically dominated Carlton to win by 53 points at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.
In an eight-point game, both teams went into the match with seven wins and seven losses apiece, and with both vying for a spot in the eight it was an incredibly vital game for both teams.
However, to consolidate a spot in the top eight, pending the remaining results of the round, both teams needed a big effort, and early on North Melbourne delivered that in spades.
Early on it was goal for goal until Drew Petrie began to fire, as he slammed home four goals of North Melbourne’s six in the first quarter to increase the margin.
Although Andrew Walker was substituted out early with a calf injury and North Melbourne held a consistent margin throughout the early stages of the game, it was seemingly a relatively even contest, with Carlton winning more of the ball overall, but with North converting in front of goal.
But Friday the thirteenth quickly came true for Carlton.
Chris Judd, despite an exceptional game, came under scrutiny for an odd decision – Leigh Adams was pinned on the ground in a tackle, unable to get up, when Judd grabbed his right shoulder and pushed it backwards in what was clearly painful for Adams.
He won a free kick after Andrew Swallow retaliated but there’s no doubt that, given that he was reported and that Leigh Adams eventually had trouble with the shoulder late, it will cop serious investigation and potential weeks on the sidelines.
On top of that and Walker’s injury, Petrie was still towelling up Michael Jamison and co., while Aaron Joseph wasn’t sighted after half time, after a heavy collision with Roo Jack Ziebell.
By then North were up by 29 points but further ahead than the scoreboard suggested, being much quicker, classier and electric with the ball.
Daniel Wells, Andrew Swallow and Jack Ziebell combined for an immense 25 clearances overall, and with Nathan Grima and Michael Firrito playing important roles in the backline, North Melbourne were undoubtedly on top.
They only consolidated that with a huge burst to put a gettable margin completely out of reach.
Carlton dragged it back to an 18-point ball game twelve minutes through the third quarter, with three of the first four goals – including two to Judd in as many minutes – until North slammed the accelerator.
They kicked six unanswered goals to make it a 65-point margin at three quarter time, including the wobbliest yet best goal of the night from Lindsay Thomas.
Thomas gathered from 50 out on the boundary line and with an open goalsquare and under pressure punted it home. The ball appeared as uncoordinated through the air as you like but it swerved its way home for one of the best goals of the year.
He ended up with three goals straight for the night in what is a real confidence booster going forward.
3 – Drew Petrie (NM)
2 – Chris Judd (Carl)
1 – Daniel Wells (NM)
North Melbourne: Petrie 7, Hansen 4, Thomas 3, Harper 3, Adams, Atley, Bastinac, Harvey, Swallow, Tarrant, Wells
Carlton: Judd 3, Armfield 2, Betts 2, Carrazzo, Duigan, Murphy, Robinson, Yarran, Garlett, McLean
North Melbourne: Petrie, Wells, Swallow, Goldstein, Ziebell, Hansen
Carlton: Judd, Carrazzo, Robinson, Murphy, McLean, Armfield
North Melbourne: Drew Petrie (left adductor), Leigh Adams (right shoulder), Andrew Swallow (head)
Carlton: Zach Tuohy (back) replaced in selected side by Kane Lucas, Andrew Walker (right calf), Aaron Joseph (head)
North Melbourne: Matt Campbell replaced Drew Petrie at three-quarter-time
Carlton: Kane Lucas replaced Andrew Walker in the first quarter
Reports: Chris Judd (Carlton) reported by umpire Foster for misconduct on Leigh Adams in the second quarter
Umpires: Schmitt, Meredith, Pannell
Official crowd: 46,423 at Etihad Stadium