CARLTON has kept its season afloat with an unconvincing seven-point win over North Melbourne at a sodden Gabba on Saturday. 


 Just six days after losing a post-siren heartbreaker against Port Adelaide, the Blues had to withstand a brave fightback from the embattled Kangaroos to win 9.10 (64) to 9.3 (57).


Carlton has moved to a 4-4 record and outside the top eight on percentage, while the Roos remain 17th after their sixth successive defeat.

THE LADDER Where is your team sitting?

The Blues led by 23 points at quarter-time and looked like running away with an easy win, but North Melbourne showed real fight after, winning the second and third quarters.

01:14 Mins
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Roo's horror blunder gifts Blues goal

A shocking attempted handball from North Melbourne veteran Jamie Macmillan lands in the lap of David Cuningham, who makes no mistake

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Despite trailing by just six points at the final change, the Kangas could never get their noses in front and fell just short.

BIG BLUES SORE Key pair in doubt for WA clash with Hawks

Marc Murphy (22 disposals) was prolific on a wing, while Matthew Kennedy (20 disposals and two goals) and Will Setterfield (20 disposals, six clearances and two assists) were also influential. 

00:52 Mins
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Nifty Newnes nails nice goal on left

Smarts from Carlton recruit Jack Newnes to get his side off to a fast start in the second half

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The Blues dominated around the stoppages but could not shake the pesky Roos.

Jared Polec (25) was exceptional, while Bailey Scott (three goals) was lively up front.

00:46 Mins
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Cheeky handball from Polec, Scott finishes

An intelligent play from Jared Polec and Bailey Scott ensures North capitalise with a nice snap from the pocket

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North became much more physical after quarter-time, with Jed Anderson doing his best to rough up Patrick Cripps on-ball.

They will regret some costly mistakes though, including a horror free kick reversal by Jasper Pittard on the three-quarter time siren that cost Polec a shot at goal. 

McGovern adds to Carlton's tall woes
Just when it looked like the Blues were getting some continuity in the forward line, they copped not one, but two setbacks. Harry McKay, fresh from three goals against Port Adelaide, was a late scratching after hyperextending his knee at training on Thursday. Then, after a quiet first half, Mitch McGovern watched the remainder of the match from the boundary line after straining his hamstring. It left Levi Casboult as the only recognised tall target inside 50.

Carlton's Mitch McGovern is tackled by North Melbourne's Josh Walker in round eight. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

Pittard's moment of madness
With North Melbourne on the charge late in the third quarter, Jasper Pittard had a moment he'd rather forget. With seconds ticking down and the Roos trailing by five points, Jared Polec took a mark 30m out directly from goal. He was about to put his team in front. As the siren sounded, Pittard rushed in and gave Marc Murphy a push to the ground, giving away a free kick. It was inexcusable and the sort of act that would infuriate coach Rhyce Shaw.

00:45 Mins
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Brain fade costs North shot after siren

A moment of madness from veteran Kangaroo Jasper Pittard sees a free kick reversed after the three-quarter time siren

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Welcome back, Bailey Scott
After winning the NAB AFL Rising Star nomination in his round one debut last year, Bailey Scott has hardly been sighted. He required surgery on his foot midway through last year and was off to a slow start again in 2020. But against the Blues, the son of former North premiership player Robert re-announced himself. In wet conditions, Scott was clean, taking his chances to finish with three goals. His first came from a clever around-the-corner finish, his second and third from clinical set shots. His performance was another reason for optimism for Kangaroo fans.

NORTH MELBOURNE          1.2      5.2      8.2      9.3 (57)
CARLTON                             5.1      7.2      8.7      9.10 (64)

North Melbourne:
 Scott 3, Larkey 2, Brown, Hall, Pittard, Polec
Carlton: Cuningham 2, Kennedy 2, Newnes 2, Casboult, Gibbons, Walsh

North Melbourne:
 Polec, Anderson, McDonald, Hayden, Scott, Walker
Carlton: Kennedy, Murphy, Setterfield, Martin, Walsh, Pittonet

North Melbourne:
Carlton: McKay (knee) replaced in selected side by Moore; McGovern (hamstring)