Highlights: North Melbourne v Richmond
The Roos and Tigers clash in round 15
NORTH Melbourne boosted their fading finals hopes and belted a dent into Richmond's credibility with a 62-point win at Etihad Stadium.
The Kangaroos were outstanding on Saturday afternoon, kicking eight goals to five behinds in the second term to win 19.14 (128) to 8.18 (66).
North have developed a nasty habit of blowing leads this season, but not even they were going to give up the 53-point advantage they had at halftime.
Five talking points: North Melbourne v Richmond
Significantly, this was a much stronger defensive effort from North.
While Richmond are likely to stay sixth, this was easily their worst performance of the season.
It will reignite debate about how far the Tigers have progressed as they try to make the finals for the first time since 2001.
North started this weekend three games out of the top eight and, over the next three weeks, face Brisbane, Carlton and Melbourne - all games they could win.Click here to vote for the three best North Melbourne players from this game
This week, they did their homework and strangled the supply to the Richmond forwards.
Taylor Hine played a crucial role as a defensive forward, shutting down Tigers star Brett Deledio.
Combined with Bachar Houli's late withdrawal with soreness, Deledio's quiet game meant the Tigers were starved of run off half-back.
Kangaroos captain Andrew Swallow starred in the midfield with 26 disposals and six clearances.
North key forward Robbie Tarrant kicked four goals.Click here to vote for the three best Richmond players from this game
Apart from a brief rally at the start of the third term, when they reduced the margin to 44 points, Richmond were outclassed.
North's intent was obvious from the opening bounce - crowd the Richmond forward line, out-work their opponents and rebound quickly whenever possible.
They led by seven points at quarter-time and hit top gear in the second term, destroying Richmond with surely their best play of the season.
Apart from losing Houli pre-match, Richmond also were a man down from the first term when Brandon Ellis was concussed.
But, more importantly, Richmond buckled under North's pressure.
Too many Tigers were more interested in appealing for free kicks than burrowing for the hard ball.
North's defenders were superb, with Lachie Hansen, Scott Thompson, Nathan Grima and Michael Firrito blanketing the Tigers forwards.
Richmond star Jack Riewoldt only kicked two goals late in the final term and took no marks.
Hansen was high among North's best with 15 marks, but still managed one of his notorious brain fades in the second term.
After taking a great saving mark, he kicked the ball into the behind post for a throw-in
NORTH MELBOURNE 3.3 11.6 15.8 19.14 (128)
RICHMOND 2.2 2.7 4.15 8.18 (66)
Tarrant 4, Bastinac 3, Black 2, Mullett 2, Harvey 2, Ziebell 2, Petrie, Greenwood, Cunnington, Gibson
Morris 2, White 2, Riewoldt 2, Ellis, Jackson
Adams, Hansen, Greenwood, Thompson, Hine, Swallow, Ziebell, Goldstein
Morris, Cotchin, Chaplin, Foley
Bachar Houli (hamstring) replaced in the selected side by Matt Dea, Brandon Ellis (concussion), Daniel Jackson (ankle)
Brad McKenzie replaced Ben Cunnington in the fourth quarter
Matt Dea replaced Brandon Ellis in the second quarter
Donlon, Bannister, Margetts
45,966 at Etihad Stadium