A RED-HOT Ben Brown has become the first Kangaroo to kick 10 goals in a game since the greatest Shinboner of all Wayne Carey managed the feat two decades ago.
North Melbourne's finals hopes were sunk in a dismal one-goal performance last week, but Brown gave the Roos' fanbase plenty to cheer about on a night where they could have gone through the motions.
Rhyce Shaw's side humiliated an insipid Port Adelaide in a 22.12 (144) to 8.10 (58) battering that has thrown the Power out of the top eight by 0.02 per cent.
Ben Brown flies high for a mark. Picture: AFL Photos
Todd Goldstein was every bit as good as Brown with a masterful ruck performance that set up the thrashing, while Nick Larkey proved a magnificent sidekick with five goals of his own.
No North Melbourne footballer had kicked double-digit goals since Carey did so against Essendon in round 17, 1999, but Brown – opposed largely to Tom Clurey – fell short of John Longmire's club-record 14 from 1990.
The mop-haired spearhead started the night six goals behind injured Giant Jeremy Cameron in the Coleman Medal race but had equalled his 58 goals by half-time and finished four clear.
BROWN-OUT DAMAGES POWER Full match coverage and stats
The Power, on the other hand, knew it had a wonderful opportunity to be the pride of South Australia on Saturday night.
Port's cross-town rival Adelaide turned in a stinker at home earlier in the day, presenting Ken Hinkley's men with the chance to as good as clinch a finals berth against the Kangaroos.
Instead, it was equally as bad and its finals destiny is no longer in its own hands.
SHOWREEL Ben's 10 turns off the Power
The Crows leapfrogged Power into eighth place, but both the Western Bulldogs (playing Greater Western Sydney) and Hawthorn (Gold Coast) could snatch it by round's end.
The massive gulf between Port's best and worst is why it is often referred to as the AFL's answer to Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
North Melbourne effectively put the game to bed three minutes into the second term, when Goldstein capped his extraordinary start with a goal after grabbing the ball out of a ruck contest.
At that stage, Goldstein's Kangaroos had kicked eight majors to the Power's one – and led by 44 points.
The 31-year-old free agent remains unsigned for next season but seems certain to remain at Arden St and illustrated why club officials were so keen to keep him.
Goldstein annihilated fellow All Australian Paddy Ryder and to a lesser degree the man North contemplated recruiting, Peter Ladhams, with a performance that turned back the clock to his glory years.
GOLDY'S GLORY Rhyce Shaw praises ruckman's effort on Brown's big day
His stat line at half-time included a whopping nine score involvements, nine clearances, four inside 50s, 18 disposals and 16 hitouts.
Robbie Gray briefly interrupted the procession with back-to-back goals – offering some belated resistance to the Roos – before North Melbourne regained momentum and took a 58-point buffer into the main break.
There were fireworks everywhere, with Brown (six) and Larkey (four) dominating aerially and combining for 10 goals in the first two quarters.
Ben Cunnington, Jack Ziebell and Jy Simpkin feasted at ground level, Shaun Higgins was another prominent performer early and Jared Polec shone against his old side.
The lopsided differentials between the teams at half-time needed to be seen to be believed.
The Roos dwarfed Port Adelaide in disposals (263-144), contested possessions (92-60), uncontested possessions (174-78), uncontested marks (49-22), clearances (23-12) and inside 50s (33-19).
With the game in the Roos' keeping, Brown became the Kangaroos' focus almost every time they went forward.
He generally delivered as well, adding three more majors in the third term – giving him nine at three-quarter time – including a spectacular banana dribble goal that reeked of confidence.
Goal No.10 followed five-and-a-half minutes into the final quarter when Brown clutched onto another mark then nailed a set shot.
He knew exactly what was at stake beforehand, because he instantaneously thrust both arms into the air as his teammates mobbed him.
Brown didn't have a single blemish to that stage and only a set shot miss soon after blotted his copybook on a memorable night.
North Melbourne: Defender Paul Ahern reported hamstring 'awareness' in the pre-game warm-up and was a late withdrawal, with Nathan Hrovat replacing him in the line-up. Jed Anderson came from the field in the third term with a tight left hamstring, with an ankle injury causing Robbie Tarrant to come off in the same quarter.
Port Adelaide: Sam Powell-Pepper hurt his left knee in the opening quarter but played the game out, while Peter Ladhams passed a concussion test in the second term after a clash with Todd Goldstein. Ollie Wines hurt his right ankle on the tick of three-quarter time.
North Melbourne could end the season with 10 wins if it can account for Melbourne in Hobart next Saturday, while Port Adelaide's finals hopes go on the line against Fremantle at Adelaide Oval the next day.
NORTH MELBOURNE 6.3 12.8 17.9 22.12 (144)
PORT ADELAIDE 1.1 3.4 7.6 8.10 (58)
North Melbourne: Brown 10, Larkey 5, Zurhaar, Goldstein, Polec, Garner, Ziebell, Higgins, Simpkin,
Port Adelaide: R.Gray 3, Amon 2, Ryder, Dixon, Rozee,
North Melbourne: Brown, Goldstein, Cunnington, Larkey, Ziebell, Simpkin
Port Adelaide: Boak, S.Gray, Houston, Amon
North Melbourne: Paul Ahern (hamstring) replaced in selected side by Nathan Hrovat, Anderson (hamstring), Tarrant (ankle)
Port Adelaide: Nil
Umpires: Meredith, Williamson, Dore
Official crowd: 17,063 at Marvel Stadium