TASMANIAN-NATIVE Ben Brown has grabbed five goals as a ruthless North Melbourne thumped Carlton by 86 points in Hobart.
The Blues lost skipper Marc Murphy to a foot injury in the warm-up and their Saturday night didn’t improve from there, with North notching an 18.8 (116) to 4.6 (30) win at a wet and windy Blundstone Arena.
— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) April 14, 2018
Brown now has 15 goals for season, two behind Swans sensation Lance Franklin in the Coleman Medal race.
Shaun Atley, Jarrad Waite and Jack Ziebell chipped in with three each, while Shaun Higgins starred with a game-high 35 disposals.
“He (Higgins) is a really important part of our midfield, complements some of our other hard and tough insiders but I think he had 11 clearances tonight, your know, 11 first possessions from stoppages,” Scott said of the silky onballer.
“He’s a very complete player. We’ve always felt ever since he set foot in our football club he would play a really important role for us.”
Scott Thompson was North’s next best with 25 touches followed by former Hawk Billy Hartung (24).
The Kangaroos (two wins and two losses) are inside the top eight, while Carlton remains winless alongside Brisbane.
The Blues will anxiously await the result of scans on Murphy’s aggravated plantar fascia problem on Monday.
Murphy cut a dejected figure in the dressing sheds after hobbling off the field during the Blues’ warm-up.
Running with a stiff breeze, Carlton’s Matthew Wright kicked the first goal of the match but it was one-way traffic from there as North opened a 15-point lead at the first break.
Two second-quarter goals to Brown, including a stunning set-shot right-foot banana kick from the boundary, stretched North’s lead to 39 points at half-time.
The Blues didn’t kick a major in the third term as the Kangaroos piled on a further five goals.
Jarrod Garlett broke the Blues’ goal drought 30 seconds into the final term but it was a blip on a largely blue-and-white radar.
Ziebell’s third was the final blow in the Kangaroos’ biggest win since 2014.
Carlton’s total was the lowest-ever score in a match at Blundstone Arena.
“Clearly, clearly disappointing,” Carlton coach Brendon Bolton said. “(It’s) not what we stand for and we need far more contributors, particularly around contested ball and ground ball gets.
“Frustrated, disappointed and not what we stand for.”
North Melbourne: The the Kangaroos appeared to come through the night unscathed.
Carlton: The big injury news came very early on as Carlton skipper Murphy pulled up lame during the warm-up. Vision later showed Murphy wearing a moon boot in the rooms and Carlton fans will be sweating on further news during the week. Jacob Weitering also finished the match sore after suffering a corked leg.
The Kangaroos are back in Melbourne and have a date with the Hawks at Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Blues will take on the in-form Eagles late on Saturday afternoon at the MCG and have plenty to do during the week if they’re to chalk-up their first victory of 2018.
NORTH MELBOURNE 4.5 9.6 14.7 18.8 (116)
CARLTON 1.0 3.3 3.4 4.6 (30)
North Melbourne: Brown 5, Waite 3, Atley 3, Ziebell 3, Anderson, Higgins, Hartung, Simpkin
Carlton: Garlett 2, J.Silvagni, Wright
North Melbourne: Higgins, Brown, Cunnington, Anderson, Hartung
Carlton: E.Curnow, Cripps, Kennedy
North Melbourne: Nil
Carlton: Murphy (plantar fascia) replaced in selected side by Nick Graham
Umpires: Findlay, Ryan, Gianfagna
Official crowd: 14,266 at Blundstone Arena
Source: Carlton Blues website