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Five talking points: North Melbourne v Carlton

Highlights: North Melbourne v Carlton The Kangaroos and Blues clash in round 4

1. Murphy lost at last minute
Carlton's wind-damaged banner was in tatters before the players even took to Blundstone Arena and it was only moments later their midfield was similarly shredded after Marc Murphy's last-minute withdrawal through injury. The Carlton skipper pulled up lame during the on-field warm-up and consulted club medicos before heading to the rooms for further assessment on the damaged plantar fascia in his left foot. Travelling emergency Nick Graham sprang into action from the rooms but struggled to have any significant impact on the game.

BROWN BLITZES BLUES: Full match details and stats

2. Roos reap reward from open forward line
The Kangaroos started with a remarkably open forward line as they prepared to kick into a stiff northerly during the first quarter. Ben Brown lined up alongside Kayne Turner and club captain Jack Ziebell as the only Kangaroos forward of the centre square and the trio caused more than a few early headaches for the Carlton defence. While the Blues managed to snag the first major through Matthew Wright, most of the scoring happened at the Church Street end – into the wind – and by quarter-time Brown had helped himself to a couple of goals and could easily have had four if not for two marginally errant set shots.

3. Big Ben in the Coleman mix
By half-time North Melbourne's key man had added another couple of goals, including a brilliant checkside from deep in the right forward pocket to push his side out to a 40-point lead midway through the second term. A cult hero in his state of origin, Brown had entered round four with 10 goals for the season, trailing Lance Franklin by four goals on the Coleman Medal table. At the final siren his five-goal haul had narrowed Buddy's lead to two and provided even more evidence of Brown's rise as one of the most dominant forwards in the AFL.

WATCH: Brown eyes Coleman Medal
 

4. Nightmare night for Carlton
Perhaps the only blessing coming out of Saturday night's game for the Blues was that the fixture hadn't been scheduled a day earlier on Friday the 13th. As bad omens go, the ragged banner greeting Carlton players as they ran on was right up there. Add Murphy's foot injury and knocks to a number of other players and it was a genuinely bruising night for the Blues. In fact, as the game unfolded it was difficult to find a positive for Brendon Bolton's men, nor the substantial number of Carlton fans who had come to see their side play in Hobart for the first time.

5. Lowest score on record at Blundstone
As the North Melbourne lead ballooned in the second half, the Blues' 0-4 start to 2018 started to look like the dawn of a crisis and on current form it's hard to see where they will find a win to give the faithful something to smile about. Bolton cut a forlorn figure in the Carlton box and even appeared to opt for damage control during the final term by removing Matthew Kreuzer from the fray to potentially protect the big man from injury on a night where nothing seemed to go right. Try as they might, the Blues just couldn't get anything going, but will leave Hobart with one new record – that for the lowest total recorded at Blundstone Arena, their 30-point haul worse than St Kilda's previous low of 33.