NORTH Melbourne has finally broken through to record a win over a top side, thumping Melbourne by 41 points in a qualifying final at Ikon Park.
The 7.8 (50) to 1.3 (9) result has broken the Roos' run of six straight losses to Melbourne, and means the Dees will now play Geelong in a semi-final, while North Melbourne will play the winner of Adelaide-Sydney.
DEMONS v KANGAROOS Full match coverage and stats
The last time North defeated Melbourne was round four, 2019, and their cumulative record against the Demons, Brisbane and Adelaide now stands at 3-16.
Most of the damage was done in the third term, the Roos scoring 3.2 to one behind – such was the dominance, Melbourne had only kicked two behinds to the final break.
Alyssa Bannan finally capitalised on a set shot to score Melbourne's first major with eight minutes remaining in the match.
North Melbourne owned the first 15 minutes of the match, but was rarely allowed to get a clean shot at goal, snapping hurriedly under immense pressure to record 1.4 for the term.
Tahlia Randall (three goals) was one of the Roos' three forwards to hit the scoreboard in the first half, pulling one goal out of the ruck and converting her second from a set shot.
North Melbourne was fierce all over the ground in the first half, holding Melbourne to just one point for the entire period.
The Demons started Tayla Harris in the ruck in the third term, pushing Lauren Pearce forward, and it looked to have an immediate impact until Pearce's set shot drifted wide.
But things seemed to open up for the Roos in the latter half of that quarter; for the first time, one team found some open space to run and carry and catch the opposing backline on the hop.
Jas Garner (25 disposals, 12 tackles, three clearances) didn't quite rack up her usual numbers, shadowed by Shelley Heath, but was nonetheless the best player on the ground, with her contested work coming to the fore in a particularly bruising first half.
Unheralded Roo Mia King (17 and five clearances) was ferocious, while usual suspects Ash Riddell (23 and six) and Emma Kearney (22 and 11 intercepts) caused plenty of havoc.
Tyla Hanks (23) threatened to swing the game in Melbourne's favour on a number of occasions with daring and agile runs through the middle, while Liv Purcell (24) battled hard in the stoppages. Defender Sinead Goldrick was also very composed throughout.
Resolute Roos defence leads the way
Melbourne only had four fewer inside 50s than North Melbourne in the first half, but the strong Roos backline – led superbly by Sarah Wright and Jas Ferguson – kept the Demons to just one point from 12 entries. North Melbourne laid a season-high 100 tackles for the game and consistently cut off the Demons' switch-kicks across the ground, reading the play well when Melbourne attempted to change lanes.
Dangerous Melbourne forwards quelled
Eden Zanker was equal-leading goalkicker this year, but to three-quarter time had just one disposal to her name. The Dees threw the versatile tall into the midfield to start the last quarter in an attempt to get her into the game, recording eight late disposals. Bannan was rarely sighted until kicking Melbourne's first goal with eight minutes to go, while Tayla Harris played mostly ruck after a quiet first half.
North Melbourne has a week off and will host the winner of Adelaide-Sydney, while Melbourne will face Geelong at Ikon Park next weekend.
MELBOURNE 0.1 0.1 0.2 1.3 (9)
NORTH MELBOURNE 1.4 2.4 5.6 7.8 (50)
North Melbourne: Randall 3, Eddey 2, O'Loughlin, E. King
Melbourne: Hanks, Purcell, Hore, Goldrick, Gay
North Melbourne: Garner, Riddell, Kearney, Randall, Wright, Pullar
North Melbourne: Shierlaw (head knock)
Crowd: 5,431 at Ikon Park