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Match report: Roos halt Blues' streak to make it nine straight

Highlights: North Melbourne v Carlton The Kangaroos and Blues clash in round nine
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 21: Ben Brown of the Kangaroos celebrates a goal during the 2016 AFL Round 09 match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Carlton Blues at Etihad Stadium on May 21, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Big Roo Ben Brown celebrates

NORTH Melbourne has recorded its best start to a season in its 92-season VFL/AFL history, winning its ninth straight game with a commanding 67-point victory over an undermanned Carlton at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

North's 9-0 start to 2016 surpasses its 8-0 opening to 1978 when it lost the Grand Final, with its passage to the club record never really in doubt against the Blues as it increased its lead at every change to prevail 17.11 (113) to 6.10 (46).

Full match coverage and stats

The Roos' win put it two games clear on top of the ladder ahead of its key clash with the third-placed Sydney Swans next Friday night at the SCG.

Todd Goldstein was the star for North, dominating the ruck in Matthew Kreuzer's absence.

Goldstein outclassed direct opponent Daniel Gorringe at the stoppages, finishing with 45 hit-outs to the Blue's seven, and regularly put the ball down the throat of his midfielders.

The 2015 All Australian also finished with 19 possessions and put an exclamation mark on his night with three goals in the third quarter.

WATCH: Goldy's 18-karat performance

The Roos led by 35 points at half-time and seemed determined to avoid a repeat of their second-half fadeout against Essendon a week earlier.

North had kicked just two goals after half-time against the Bombers while conceding eight, but it did not let its work-rate slip against Carlton, chasing, harassing and tackling right to the final siren.

The Roos kicked five goals to the Blues' three in the third quarter and rounded out a complete performance with a four-goal-to-nil final term.

North coach Brad Scott said after the game his team's commitment across the four quarters had been pleasing.

"We were 35 points up at half-time and then it was pretty much a similar margin in the second half, so it was good to keep going," Scott said.

"We got a good look at Trent Dumont, who we've wanted to get into the side for a while, who I thought stood up and looked like an AFL player today.

WATCH: Brad Scott's full post-match media conference

"Farren Ray played the role we knew he could and has been playing at VFL level.

"It was good. It was pretty dominant across the board."

 

Robbie Tarrant was outstanding in defence, giving little time and space to a string of opponents including Liam Jones and Andrew Walker, but the key defender's one-grab overhead marking was the standout feature of his night.

Jack Ziebell (22 possessions, six clearances and two goals) was North's best midfielder and received strong support from Nick Dal Santo (28 possessions and five clearances), while Lindsay Thomas (three goals) and Brent Harvey (two) were lively around goal.

Five talking points: North Melbourne v Carlton

Carlton took a four-game winning streak into Saturday night's game but was always going to struggle without injured talls Kreuzer and Levi Casboult.

Blues coach Brendon Bolton said his team had simply come up against an opponent that was too good.

"There's no secret that they had won eight straight going in and they're a very well-oiled machine," Bolton said.

"In and around the midfield was where it was won and lost. I think they kicked half a dozen goals from centre bounces, got on top through the midfield, so full credit to them they're well polished there."

WATCH: Brendon Bolton's full post-match media conference

Simon White did an admirable job in defence, spending much of the night on Drew Petrie. White conceded 7cm and 8kg to the North spearhead but – with the help of fellow talls Lachie Plowman, Jacob Weitering and Sam Rowe – kept him goalless.

Sam Docherty (29 possessions) also worked tirelessly in defence for the Blues, while Sam Kerridge (29) and Bryce Gibbs (29) found plenty of the ball, and Liam Sumner played with zip in attack.

Gibbs could face scrutiny from the Match Review Panel after appearing to punch Harvey in the stomach behind the play late in the first quarter.

North players rushed to remonstrate with Gibbs when Harvey went to ground, but the 38-year-old Roo was able to take a free kick after the incident. 

MEDICAL ROOM
North Melbourne: The Roos emerged with a clean bill of health.

Carlton: Dale Thomas collided heavily with a behind post early in the game as he ran back with the flight of the ball to mark. The former Pie appeared to take most of the contact with his hip, but goaled from an acute angle and played out the rest of the game. 

NEXT UP
The Roos travel to the SCG to take on the Sydney Swans off a six-day break on Friday night. North won the teams' most recent clash at the SCG, in round four, 2014, but lost the previous four before that. Carlton plays Geelong on Sunday at Etihad Stadium, when the Blues will look to break a seven-game losing streak against the Cats.

NORTH MELBOURNE    5.3   8.9  13.10  17.11 (113)                  
CARLTON                        2.2   3.4    6.5      6.10 (46)

GOALS
North Melbourne: Goldstein 3, Thomas 3, Brown 2, Harvey 2, Ziebell 2, Waite 2, Nahas 2, Ray
Carlton: Jones 2, Thomas, Walker, Simpson, Gorringe 

BEST 
North Melbourne: Goldstein, Ziebell, Tarrant, Dal Santo, Harvey, Brown
Carlton: White, Kerridge, Docherty, Thomas, Sumner

INJURIES 
North Melbourne: Nil
Carlton: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Farmer, Ryan, Fleer

Official crowd: 38,419 at Etihad Stadium