Drew Petrie returned to form and Daniel Wells made a mockery of a pre-game injury scare to help North Melbourne record a 40-point AFL win over Collingwood.
The Kangaroos shored up their place in the top eight and snapped a five-game losing streak in feisty fashion on Friday night, beating the Magpies 18.16 (124) to 12.12 (84).
North’s Lindsay Thomas kicked a game-high five goals – his best haul of the year.
The Kangaroos booted six goals in 14 minutes at Etihad Stadium to boast a 27-point lead at quarter-time.
The Magpies, a man down after Ben Sinclair was knocked out early in an innocuous collision with Jed Anderson, rallied late.
They reduced the margin to 15 points early in the final quarter but couldn’t go on with it.
Wells tallied 11 possessions in the opening term, busting the game open with his dash and clean disposal.
The playmaker limped off the field during the warm-up with an apparent leg injury but passed a late fitness test.
Petrie also starred in a spiteful contest that featured plenty of off-the-ball scraps, bruising contests and verbal spats.
He responded in the best possible fashion to public criticism from club great Wayne Carey, who suggested the 33-year-old’s time was up.
Petrie booted two goals and clutched seven marks but far more impressive was his team-high seven tackles.
The veteran forward wasn’t alone.
The Kangaroos’ pressure was fierce from the outset and there was no let off from Brad Scott’s side.
Collingwood conceded two goals by turning the Sherrin over from kick-ins.
Marley Williams also threatened to gift a cheap goal in the third term, pushing Thomas to the ground after the small forward booted his fourth goal.
Thomas earned the ire of former Western Bulldogs ruckman Luke Darcy.
“Diving is just not part of our game … if he wanted to stand his ground, he could have. He milked a free kick,” Darcy said on Triple M.
Brent Harvey, who equalled Michael Tuck’s games record, finished with 25 disposals and two goals.
Harvey is set to play his 427th match and break Tuck’s mark on Saturday week, when North face St Kilda at Etihad.
Majak Daw produced a spectacular mark-of-the-year contender in the third term, while Taylor Adams and Scott Pendlebury were among Collingwood’s best.
Sinclair was taken to hospital after suffering his third concussion of the season.