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Blues dent Roos' top-four hopes with tenacious win

Highlights: Carlton v North Melbourne The Blues and Roos clash in round 18
Lachie Henderson of the Blues celebrates a goal during the 2014 AFL Round 18 match between the Carlton Blues and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on July 18, 2014. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/AFL Media)
Lachie Henderson had a night out as the Blues kicked away to an impressive win
CARLTON has all but shattered North Melbourne’s top-four dream, clinching a 23-point upset of the Roos at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.

The Blues played with dare and dash, setting the tone from the outset in a 16.13 (109) to 13.8 (86) triumph.

Twin towers Lachie Henderson (six goals) – in his 100th game – and the recalled Jarrad Waite (four) led Carlton’s win, dominating in the air.

Waite, whose future at Visy Park has been the subject of much conjecture, showed he is anything but a spent force, covering the ground and leaping high for 10 marks.

Fittingly, the 31-year-old sealed the match by running into an open goal to put the Blues ahead by 25 points at the 18-minute mark of the final term.

Carlton (6-11) condemned Brad Scott’s Kangaroos (10-7) to their seventh loss, and all but ended North’s ambitions of earning a finals double-chance.

Scott was once again left searching for answers for his side’s rollercoaster season.

“It’s frustrating for everyone associated with North Melbourne,” Scott said after the match.

“It wasn’t only defensively – that was probably the biggest issue – but offensively we just played safe footy.

“(We) refused to take a risk, refused to take the game on, and we know that when we play our best footy we’re doing that.”

North only trailed by 15 points at half time, but again failed to show sufficient fight to come from behind.

Nine times this season the Roos have gone in behind at the main break, losing seven.

Carlton swarmed all over North in the opening half and arguably should have led by more.

Although North had more inside 50s (31-23), Carlton had 16 scoring shots to 11.

The Blues played on instinct, clearly enjoying being back under the roof where they have now won five of their past six games.

The Roos had won five of their previous six at the venue, but it was clear from the opening exchanges that the ‘bad’ North Melbourne was on display.

Although Lindsay Thomas drew first blood for the Kangas, Carlton’s swift ball movement soon told.

Waite announced he had come to play with a well-judged contested mark for Carlton’s first at the 11-minute mark, sparking a four-goal run.

Henderson kicked truly following Chris Yarran’s clever inboard pass before the livewire hit the scoreboard in his 100th game.

Bryce Gibbs (27 possessions, two goals) then continued his excellent form since re-signing with Carlton, snapping a goal of the year contender to put the Blues ahead by 20 points.

But North steadied through Ben Cunnington (13 possessions, two goals) and Brent Harvey (20, two) and the margin was only nine points at the first change.

It wasn’t sufficient reward for the Blues and – after controlling most of the second quarter – they coughed up another handy advantage.

Carlton kicked four of the next six goals – including a team-lifter by Cameron Wood in his first game for the club – to lead by 23 points at the 20-minute mark.

But late goals from Thomas and Harvey, fresh off signing a one-year contract extension, lifted the Roos back to within striking distance at the long break.

While Mick Malthouse’s men kept North in the game in the third term, booting 1.6 to 4.0, but the Blues would not be denied.

Carlton hammered the final nail in North’s coffin with six straight majors to 2.4 in the last quarter.

“What we tried to do was just take a quarter at a time and really focus on that quarter,” Malthouse said after the match.

“I was a bit concerned about the third quarter, because this year so far North have outscored the opposition quite comfortably.”

The win was soured by Mitch Robinson, also in his 100th match, being reported for a heavy bump on North’s Leigh Adams in the first quarter, and Troy Menzel suffering a knee injury, sparking fears after his previous LARS reconstruction. 

Malthouse wouldn't be drawn on the severity of Menzel's injury, with the young forward set to undergo scans on Saturday. 

Brad Scott was left looking for answers after North fell flat against the Blues. Picture: AFL Media 

CARLTON                       4.3   9.7   10.13  16.13 (109)
NORTH MELBOURNE   3.0   7.4   11.4    13.8 (86)

Carlton: Henderson 6, Waite 4, Gibbs 2, Yarran, Wood, Judd, Graham
North Melbourne: Thomas 4, Harvey 2, Cunnington 2, Greenwood 2, Ziebell, Dal Santo, Petrie

Carlton: Gibbs, Waite, Henderson, Simpson, Curnow, Docherty, Yarran
North Melbourne: Dal Santo, Greenwood, Thompson, Cunnington, Swallow

Carlton: McLean (stomach virus) replaced in selected side by Waite, Everitt (knee), Menzel (knee)
North Melbourne: Brown (finger) replaced in selected side by Daw

Carlton: Andrejs Everitt replaced by Nick Graham in the second quarter
North Melbourne: Scott McMahon replaced by Jack Ziebell in the third quarter
Reports: Mitch Robinson (Carlton) for rough conduct on Leigh Adams (North Melbourne) in the first quarter. 
Umpires: Schmitt, Pannell, Jeffery
Official crowd: 36,689 at Etihad Stadium