THE WESTERN Bulldogs have put a dagger through North Melbourne's finals hopes, producing a stunning second-half turnaround to claim a shock seven-point win on Sunday.
Having trailed by 28 points at half-time, the Dogs kicked nine goals to three after the main break to breeze past the Kangaroos and claim a deserved 13.14 (92) to 12.13 (85) victory.
DOGS BITE ROOS Full match coverage and stats
The demoralising loss is set to leave North Melbourne at least game outside of the top eight by the end of the weekend, with just two matches remaining in the home and away season.
Lachie Hunter, Jack Macrae and Caleb Daniel all racked up more than 40 disposals in the victory, while Marcus Bontempelli's class was critical in a superb comeback win.
Bontempelli finished with two goals from 35 disposals and four clearances, with his influence in the forward half a defining factor on a lamentable day for the Kangaroos.
"That's two weeks in a row where we've come from almost five goals down to win, so it shows our spirit's there," Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said after the game.
"The boys are showing a lot of character. For the players to really stabilise under pressure, and then some of those playing different roles, it was an exciting day really.
"We're trying to build some experiences that are going to hold us in good stead in the future and today’s definitely a great experience."
While the win is the second in as many weeks for an exciting Western Bulldogs side, the loss is almost certain to go down as the one that got away for North Melbourne.
Having witnessed finals rivals Geelong and Port Adelaide stumble on Saturday, the Kangaroos looked poised to control their own September destiny with victory at Docklands.
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Ben Brown had re-found his mojo with four goals, while Shaun Higgins and Ben Cunnington had produced typically workmanlike displays to help North Melbourne gain an early lead.
But, despite holding a 28-point half-time buffer, not everything had gone the Kangaroos' way.
Skill errors had crept into North Melbourne's game, with undisciplined acts from Kayne Turner and Majak Daw resulting in costly back-to-back 50m penalties to the Dogs.
It was perhaps a sign of the nerves North Melbourne was grappling with, as the prospect of moving one step closer to an unlikely finals berth appeared on the horizon.
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Ultimately, it came back to bite them.
Five goals in 15 minutes to start the second half quickly saw the Bulldogs wrestle back the momentum – and the lead – with North Melbourne's resolve severely tested.
Luke Beveridge's side ultimately piled on eight of 10 goals in the third quarter in a term that broke North Melbourne's back – and probably its September dream.
In a scrappy final term that reflected much of the match, neither side could wrestle the momentum firmly in their favour, which was an outcome that suited the Dogs to a tee.
With the Kangaroos out of legs, they failed to make up any ground, slumping to a critical defeat.
"It's just another day at the office," Scott said afterwards.
"We did a lot right in the game and had a horror 30 minutes. The Bulldogs kicked five goals in three quarters and eight in one (quarter).
"We just had a bad period of play where we couldn't get the ball and to their credit, they were able to go forward and score."
North Melbourne: Mason Wood suffered a cut above his eye but played out the match.
Western Bulldogs: Zaine Cordy left the field under the blood rule in the second quarter and failed to return to the match. He was later taken to hospital with a fractured skull.
North Melbourne will look to keep its finals hopes alive in a tough interstate encounter against Adelaide in next Sunday's twilight game, while the Western Bulldogs face Carlton at Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
NORTH MELBOURNE 2.2 9.5 11.10 12.13 (85)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.4 4.7 12.9 13.14 (92)
North Melbourne: Brown 4, Waite 2, Wood 2, Walker, Turner, Atley, Higgins
Western Bulldogs: Dickson 3, Bontempelli 2, Schache 2, McLean, Johannisen, Greene, Gowers, Lipinski, Jong
North Melbourne: Cunnington, Anderson, Goldstein, Higgins, Brown, Thompson
Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli, Hunter, Daniel, Macrae, Dunkley, Johannisen
North Melbourne: Nil
Western Bulldogs: Cordy (fractured skull)
Umpires: Hosking, Schmitt, Hay
Official crowd: 27,031 at Etihad Stadium