Furious North Melbourne coach Brad Scott has labelled the Kangaroos’ capitulation to Collingwood disgusting and promised there will be repercussions.
The Kangaroos led by 39 points at halftime of Sunday’s clash at the MCG – and in reality the margin should have been greater, such was their dominance.
But the Magpies turned the match on its head with a nine-goals-to-nil rampage in the third term and then held off a belated rally by North Melbourne in the final quarter to win 17.10 (112) to 14.11 (95).
The 17-point loss saw last year’s preliminary finalists slump to 13th on the ladder, a game and percentage out of the top eight with a 4-5 win-loss record.
“It’s as disgusting a performance as I’ve been involved with since I’ve been at North Melbourne,” said Scott.
“Just absolutely appalling and we’ve got to turn it around very quickly, because at the moment we’re capable of what we were capable of in the first half and really dominating the game and then, for whatever reason, whether it’s mental aptitude or mental strength.
“… We use the right words like being tough and ruthless and relentless but it was anything but in the second half.”
It all looked so different at the long break, with the Kangaroos leading by 39 points after what Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley called his team’s worst half of the season.
Jamie Elliott was the game-breaker for the Magpies, kicking three of his five goals in the third term as the Kangaroos players stopped to a walk.
“There’s two things you can’t coach on game-day,” said Scott.
“You can’t coach skill errors – you can’t take it back and try that again – and you can’t control players getting beaten when we outnumber them at the contest and still get beaten.”
When Elliott kicked the first goal of the final term, the Magpies led by 20 points.
The Kangaroos then booted the next four majors to edge four points ahead, only for Collingwood to surge again with the last three goals of the game, including a crucial blow from Dane Swan after a powerful mark opposed to Jamie Macmillan.
Buckley lauded the belief shown by his players in being able to rally from a dreadful showing in the first half.
“We’ve got a young group that believes it can be good, that believes it can play good footy,” said Buckley, whose team moved above Greater Western Sydney into fourth spot on the ladder.
“Talking to a few of the boys and I don’t know how but they never felt they were going to lose the game.
“Given the performance and the stages we got to in the first half that’s a pretty big call.”
The Kangaroos were best served by ruckman Todd Goldstein, while Robin Nahas and Jarrad Waite booted three goals apiece.
North suffered a big blow in the lead-up when skipper Andrew Swallow was forced to withdraw due to an ongoing thumb injury.
He was replaced by Kayne Turner.