On a historic night for the AFL and Brent Harvey, North Melbourne have clawed their way to a 23-point win over St Kilda at Etihad Stadium.
Harvey’s 427th career match rarely reached any great heights as a spectacle on Saturday night, but that mattered little as the champion was carried off the ground as the AFL’s games record holder following the 12.13 (85) to 8.14 (62) win.
Despite a huge build-up in the week leading up to his surpassing of Hawthorn great Michael Tuck, Harvey wasn’t overawed by the occasion, gathering 24 possessions and kicking a goal.
The win continues the 38-year-old’s run of having never lost a personal milestone match in his career.
But although it was a historic night, there as nothing memorable about the dour, error-riddled first half of the contest.
Both sides lacked cohesion in their play and couldn’t buy a set-shot for goal for the most part.
But the Kangaroos eventually found their composure to lead by two goals at halftime, with Drew Petrie – who kicked a goal after taking a spectacular pack mark – important as they stretched that to 22 points at the last break.
The Saints were ninth on the ladder going into the clash and desperately needed a win to keep their faint finals hopes alive.
But they continued a disappointing evening in the final term, with the Roos sealing a win to celebrate Harvey and keep them in the hunt for a top-four berth.
Jamie Macmillan, Ben Cunnington and Nick Dal Santo were influential for North, while Ben Brown was the dominant forward on the ground with three goals.
Coming off an upset win over the Western Bulldogs last week, St Kilda didn’t have enough consistent contributors, but Seb Ross, Jack Steven and Leigh Montagna were among their best players.