Luke McDonald tackles Ryan Crowley at Patersons Stadium on Friday night
NORTH Melbourne's Jekyll and Hyde season has continued with a stunning 13-point win over a shell-shocked Fremantle at Patersons Stadium on Friday night.
The Dockers’ premiership credentials are on shaky ground after the Kangaroos trailed at every change before finishing with a flourish to win 10.14 (74) to 8.13 (61).
Five talking points: Fremantle v North Melbourne
It was Fremantle’s first loss at home in 14 matches, dropping last year’s premiership runners-up to 3-3 for the season.
North Melbourne kicked three goals to none in a remarkable last quarter to celebrate Drew Petrie's 250th game in style. It was the Kangaroos’ first victory over Fremantle at Patersons Stadium since round 15, 2007, which was Chris Connolly's last match as Fremantle coach.
Brad Scott felt it was one of the best wins of his tenure as North Melbourne's coach.
"I still thought Fremantle really put us under enormous pressure early. We struggled to get through that, but I was really proud of our guys the way they persisted and got the result in the end."
Brent Harvey was the star for the Kangaroos, which improved to 4-2 with the impressive victory. The veteran ran tagger Ryan Crowley ragged, gathering 29 touches in a vintage display to exact revenge on Crowley after last year's pinching controversy
Sam Gibson was also outstanding for the winners with 31 possessions and two vital goals.
Nat Fyfe fought a lone hand
for Fremantle. He gathered 33 disposals and kicked two goals, but his teammates lacked polish and composure when going forward.
Fremantle lost despite having 10 more inside 50s for the match, and the absence of missing small forwards Hayden Ballantyne (suspended) and Michael Walters (injured) was telling as the home side kicked just two second-half goals, none in the final term.
"We would have all seen dropped marks, missed kicks and some poor decision-making that caused turnovers, and they took their opportunities really well.
"It's not complicated. That's what occurred tonight."
North’s dreams of taking a second big scalp interstate after beating the Sydney Swans a fortnight ago looked unlikely in the early stages, with the Dockers kicking the first four goals of the match.
Their trademark pressure was back as the Kangaroos struggled to put together clean chains of possession, remaining pinned in their back half for the majority of the term.
Two late goals from free kicks to Robin Nahas and Petrie cut the margin to just 12 points and arrested back a little bit of momentum.
The two sides traded goals in the second term, although neither could take control despite a multitude of other chances at both ends. Harvey began to have a significant impact as he broke off the Crowley chain. The veteran had 19 touches in the first half and was instrumental running through the middle. A brilliant running goal to Gibson after a deliberate build-up, and a successful snap from Aaron Black cut the margin to just eight points at half-time.
The third term was an arm wrestle punctuated by errors in front of goal. The class of Nick Dal Santo drew scores level with a composed finish in traffic. Matthew Pavlich stood tall to reclaim the lead, but a late goal on the run from Aaron Mullett sliced the home side’s lead to three points with a quarter to play.
Back-to-back goals to the Kangaroos in the first 10 minutes of the last quarter saw the visitors hit the front, and Lindsay Thomas kicked the match-sealer
23 minutes into the final term, seeing the dumbstruck Fremantle fans head for the exits.
Drew Petrie leaves Patersons Stadium a winner after his 250th game. Picture: AFL Media
FREMANTLE 4.4 6.8 8.8 8.13 (61)
NORTH MELBOURNE 2.4 5.6 7.11 10.14 (74)
Fremantle: Pavlich 2, Fyfe 2, Neale, Sandilands, Mundy, Mayne
North Melbourne: Gibson 2, Petrie 2, Nahas, Daw, Black, Dal Santo, Mullet, Thomas
Fremantle: Fyfe, Johnson, Mundy, D. Pearce, Pavlich, McPharlin
North Melbourne: Harvey, Dal Santo, Cunnington, Ziebell, Gibson, Firrito
North Melbourne: Nil
Fremantle: Matt de Boer replaced by Tom Sheridan in the third quarter
North Melbourne: Robin Nahas replaced by Brad McKenzie in the final quarter
Umpires: Dalgleish, Stevic, Harris
Official crowd: 37,624 at Patersons Stadium