A LOT has to go wrong for an AFL team to score only 14 points in a game.

Welcome to North Melbourne's horror Saturday night against Geelong at the Cattery, complete with self-inflicted wounds, the lowest total in club history and a 55-point defeat.

The Kangaroos were smashed 47-26 in the clearances (their worst differential since round 18, 2017), won 25 fewer contested possessions, and lost the inside-50 count by 28 (the club's equal-worst differential since the 2016 elimination final). 

Scott Thompson walks off GMHBA Stadium. Picture: AFL Photos

Being hammered so uncharacteristically in the contest put North on the backfoot from the get-go – and forced many of its forays to begin from defensive 50, which became a revolving nightmare.

This was, perhaps, best represented in the Cats having the ball in their attacking half a whopping 17 minutes longer than the Roos, as well as scoring 42 points from forward-half possession gains.

The problem for North coach Rhyce Shaw was his players didn't just struggle with Geelong's defensive structure and pressure.

They also made blunders when they had plenty of time to make a decision.

BARRETT The two biggest embarrassments from round 21

Captain Jack Ziebell and high-priced recruit Jared Polec were among the chief culprits, whether rushing kicks forward or simply making poor choices as the pressure heightened. 

Only four Roos rated positively in Champion Data's kick rating metric, which assigns a percentage to the chance of players successfully completing every kick. 

That is the equal-second-fewest in the AFL this season, behind Adelaide, which had just three players kick better than expected in round seven against Fremantle. 

HOW THE ROOS KICKED AT THE CATTERY

Player

Kicks

Rating

Nick Larkey

4

+16.7%

Jed Anderson

8

+8.6%

Taylor Garner

6

+6.2%

Tarryn Thomas

4

+1.6%

Scott Thompson

13

-3.0%

Jamie Macmillan

17

-3.5%

Robbie Tarrant

18

-8.0%

Shaun Atley

6

-8.1%

Paul Ahern

14

-13.7%

Jasper Pittard

9

-15.0%

Shaun Higgins

8

-17.4%

Ben Brown

4

-17.8%

Trent Dumont

6

-18.0%

Ben Cunnington

7

-18.3%

Marley Williams

10

-18.4%

Jy Simpkin

7

-21.2%

Todd Goldstein

5

-22.2%

Cameron Zurhaar

4

-28.0%

Jared Polec

9

-29.5%

Jack Ziebell

10

-31.5%

Kayne Turner

5

-31.8%

Mason Wood

3

-45.5%

Under Shaw, North Melbourne moved the ball through the corridor from defensive 50 less than any other team between rounds 11 and 20 – just 8.6 per cent of the time. 

That percentage ballooned in desperate circumstances against Geelong, with the Roos taking the corridor option almost three times as often. 

It didn't end well, including Polec and Ziebell gifting the Cats respective shots at goal in the third term with elementary errors when trying to bring the ball 'inside'.

THE RUN HOME How high can these Dogs go?

Damningly, North's shot-at-goal (-35.4 per cent) and field kicking (-13.1 per cent) ratings were both the worst of the round.

And rounding out the Roos' forgettable night was that a season-high 21 of their 34 giveaways were unforced.

The coaching job just got real for Shaw. 

Kangaroos coach Rhyce Shaw. Picture: AFL Photos

NORTH MELBOURNE'S BALL MOVEMENT

Statistic

R20 vs Geelong

Club season rank

Defensive-half turnovers

33

Second-most

Scores against from defensive-half turnovers

42

Second-most

D50 to In50

10.3%

Second-worst

D50 to score

1.7%

Season-worst

Defensive mid to In50

21.2

Season-worst

Defensive mid to score

9.1%

Sixth-worst

Bombers shoot blanks

Essendon was even worse than North Melbourne on Saturday night.

The Bombers' 104-point loss to the Western Bulldogs made them the first top-eight team to lose by triple-digits since Fremantle in round nine, 2017. 

There were some staggering numbers, with the Bulldogs racking up 125 more disposals (biggest club differential since round 12, 2016), 36 extra contested possessions (best since 2016 semi-final) and 29 more inside 50s (most since round 21, 2017). 

NINE THINGS WE LEARNED Is there method to Port's madness?

Essendon's percentage has plummeted from 104.3 to 93.8 in the past fortnight, courtesy of the Bulldogs defeat and the previous week's 59-point thumping from Port Adelaide.

The 21 straight goals the Bombers conceded – after they kicked the first of the game – certainly didn't help. 

The Bombers were even worse than the Kangaroos. Picture: AFL Photos

MOST UNANSWERED GOALS IN A GAME

Season

Round

Club

Goal streak

2018

22

Geelong

23

2019

21

Western Bulldogs

21

2011

20

Geelong

17

2005

13

Port Adelaide

17

2011

6

Essendon

16

2004

8

North Melbourne

16

2006

22

Sydney

16

2016

23

Sydney

16

Wet-weather scoring plunge

If you thought the weekend's modest scoring was significant then you were right.

Greater Western Sydney's 29 points, Essendon's 33, North Melbourne's 14 and Carlton's 45 – scored in the wet, and even some snow – combined to deliver a first in the AFL for 23 years. 

Round 16 of the 1996 season was the last time there were three scores fewer than 33 points and four of 45 or less.

Bouncing between the arcs

There wasn't much memorable about Collingwood's 17-point victory over Melbourne on Saturday, but there's one reason it stood out. 

The two teams combined for the least inside 50s in any game this year: 87, with the Magpies having 44 and the Demons 43.

It was also the least from any match since round 19, 2017, when Gold Coast and Richmond had 79 between them.

FEWEST COMBINED INSIDE 50S IN A GAME THIS SEASON

TEAMS

ROUND

INSIDE 50s

Melbourne vs Collingwood

21

87

St Kilda vs Carlton

10

89

Collingwood vs Gold Coast

20

89

Melbourne vs West Coast

18

90

Hawthorn vs Greater Western Sydney

8

90