North Melbourne have kept their AFL season perfect, posting a 14-point win over Essendon thanks to a record first-half strangling.
The Bombers were on track to write another dark chapter into their recent history on Saturday at Etihad Stadium, posting their worst opening half in 101 years.
Essendon had just four behinds on the scoreboard at the main break but regained respect with a spirited second-half showing, losing 10.14 (74) to 8.12 (60).
That the Bombers came so close to victory will be the subject of a savage post-mortem examination by Kangaroos coach Brad Scott.
When Kyle Langford kicked two last-term goals in a minute, the Bombers were within reach of a famous victory.
Thankfully for Scott, their first half did enough damage to maintain their unblemished record.
Sam Gibson racked up 36 touches – the most by a Kangaroo this season – and Andrew Swallow impressed in midfield.
All of North Melbourne’s defence deserved credit for their miserly work during the first half.
On his 38th birthday, Brent Harvey had 31 disposals but didn’t trouble the scorers, kicking out of bounds twice.
Bombers captain Brendon Goddard was again his side’s best, picking up 38 touches and firing his side’s second-half effort.
North Melbourne’s initial fears over Mason Wood, who was taken from the ground on a stretcher after knocking himself out taking a mark, were dispelled when the young forward responded to treatment in the rooms.