K rock Football

North jumps dire Blues for easy win

AFTER starting the AFL season in promising fashion, Carlton have taken a big step backwards in an embarrassing 58-point loss to a recharged North Melbourne.

The Blues were beaten in every facet of Sunday’s bottom-four clash at Marvel Stadium, managing just one goal to halftime in an 18.12 (120) to 8.14 (62) annihilation.

While Carlton produced easily their worst performance for the season, North were finally back to their best as they secured their second win from seven games to, at least momentarily, ease pressure on embattled coach Brad Scott.

Ben Brown slotted four goals, 20-year-old Cameron Zurhaar booted five and Jack Ziebell quelled the influence of Carlton skipper Patrick Cripps – who still managed to finish with 26 disposals and two goals – in an influential midfield role.

Adding to the Blues’ woes, key defender Liam Jones was knocked out in a nasty collision with North forward Cameron Zurhaar late in the third quarter.

Jones was taken from the ground on a motorised stretcher, while Zurhaar was left bleeding heavily from the head but played out the game.

It had already been a day to forget for Jones, who was monstered by Brown in one of many direct match-up wins for the Kangaroos.

North backman Scott Thompson sat out the second half with a groin issue but the Roos had already iced the game by that point.

Sorely missing ruckman Matthew Kreuzer, the Blues – who were also without Kade Simpson, Mitch McGovern and Nic Newman – were hammered at the contests from the opening bounce and fared little better with ball in hand.

Midfield workhorse Cripps appeared to be hampered early, allowing first use to North’s prime movers Ben Cunnington, Jed Anderson and Trent Dumont.

Brown set the tone for a big afternoon when he outmarked both Jones and Lachie Plowman and slotted the first of three opening-quarter majors.

The Roos booted the first seven goals of the game, then pressed their advantage in a performance built around strong forward pressure.

Carlton’s forwards lacked supply but were beaten all ends up in any case, highlighted by Robbie Tarrant’s dominance of Harry McKay.

Levi Casboult and Ed Curnow were other notable non-performers for the 17th- placed Blues, who host in-form Collingwood next Saturday.

© AAP 2019

NORTH MELBOURNE 5.4 10.6 15.7 18.12 (120)

CARLTON 0.2 1.7 3.10 8.14 (62)

Goals: North Melbourne: C Zurhaar 5 B Brown 4 J Simpkin 2 T Goldstein 2 J Anderson J Ziebell M Wood T Garner T Thomas. Carlton: J Silvagni 2 P Cripps 2 D Cuningham E Curnow L O’Brien M Gibbons.

Official Crowd: 42,430 at Marvel Stadium.