Todd Goldstein and Jack Ziebell have shone again for North Melbourne, starring in a 64-point win over Carlton.
The Blues gave the Kangaroos a major fright through the middle of Saturday night’s match at Etihad Stadium, but the Kangaroos steamrolled them in the last term for an 18.10 (118) to 8.6 (54) cakewalk.
Goldstein, the lock for All-Australian ruckman this year, had 41 hitouts and kicked two goals.
Ziebell made the most of Goldstein’s ruckwork and stood again in the midfield with 26 possessions, while Drew Petrie kicked three goals.
Goldstein and Ziebell combined for one of the game’s highlights late in the third term – a centre-bounce ruck tap from the ruckman that set up his onballer for a booming goal on the run.
North’s indigenous small forward Lindsay Thomas paid tribute to Sydney star Adam Goodes in the last quarter.
After Thomas kicked a goal, he turned to the crowd, pulled aside his guernsey and pointed to an aboriginal flag tattooed on his chest.
Carlton fans roundly booed North forward Jarrad Waite whenever he had the ball.
In Waite’s 200th game and the first against his old club, he kicked two goals.
Carlton were much better after last week’s record loss to Hawthorn, but they fell away badly in the second half.
North started and ended the game supremely, kicking six goals to one in the last quarter.
They also opened with five goals to nil for a 31-point lead.
But Blaine Boekhorst goaled on the quarter-time siren to open Carlton’s account.
The Blues fired up in the second term, kicking five out of seven goals and reducing the margin to only four points just before halftime.
All the questions about North’s consistency were bubbling to the surface again, in a season where they started as top-four fancies but have struggled for consistency.
The Kangaroos stemmed the tide when Petrie kicked his third goal late in the second term.
Carlton kept pressing early in the third term, but they made too many skill errors.
After a quiet first half, North captain Andrew Swallow laid three tackles and kicked a goal to help his team steady.
At the centre bounce after Swallow’s goal, Goldstein tapped the ball beautifully for Ziebell, who kicked accurately on the run from about 50m.
The two goals in the space of a minute propelled North to a decisive 30-point lead at the last change.
Marc Murphy and Patrick Cripps were best for Carlton.