JOSH Bruce was back to haunt North Melbourne yet again, bagging 10 goals in the Western Bulldogs' 128-point Good Friday mauling of the Roos at Marvel Stadium.
Bruce's career-best outing made it 22 majors in his last three games against the Roos, dining out on an undersized defence that was pummeled after quarter-time.
Dogs recruit Adam Treloar's performance was the cherry on top, booting three goals from 27 disposals as his new side waltzed to a 3-0 start and the biggest win in their history.
ROOS v DOGS Full match coverage and stats
Roos coach David Noble was forced to watch his side concede 20 of the last 22 goals, just two days after defending his side's place in the annual fixture slot.
The Roos didn't have a single winner on the ground and coughed up a whopping 24 marks inside 50, 31 extra inside 50s and 97 more disposals (including 47 contested).
However, their pre-game commitment of unwavering effort wasn't questioned early as they laid an extra eight tackles in the first term to trail by just 12 points.
From there, the floodgates opened as the Dogs' ruck combination of Tim English and Stefan Martin ran Todd Goldstein ragged and their array of midfielders started to outmuscle their younger opponents.
Such was the ease of entries, Treloar booted two goals on the run from the paint of 50m in the second term in his best performance in his new colours.
Early goals from Bruce (his seventh) and Naughton to start the final term made it 12 consecutive majors for the Dogs before third-gamer Charlie Lazzaro broke the Roos' deadlock.
Bruce then added two more – including a brilliant snap – before nailing his 10th from a set shot in the dying stages to make it the most for a Dog since Simon Beasley's bag of 10 against the Brisbane Bears in 1987.
The Roos' ball use out of their back half was also deplorable, incredibly recording 76 turnovers (nine more than the Dogs) from their total of 336 disposals.
Roos' chief destroyer back again
It's almost as if Josh Bruce circles the North Melbourne match-up on his fixture each summer. The 28-year-old's 10 goals followed his efforts of six (twice) in his last three matches against the Roos. Now into his second year at the Dogs, the ex-Saint did it in the air and then on the ground and finished with a goal from a pack mark as Dogs fans chanted "Brucey, Brucey". It was also the biggest bag in a single match since Ben Brown booted 10 goals for the Roos. Bruce started his afternoon opposed to Josh Walker before being thrown Ben McKay.
Early injury carnage
Dropped at selection on Thursday night, Western Bulldogs medical sub Pat Lipinski only had to wait five minutes until he was back in the action. Dogs defender Ryan Gardner injured his AC joint in a collision with teammate Alex Keath in the first play of the game and was unable to take any further part. It meant Lipinski was the earliest sub introduced under the new rules that his coach Luke Beveridge heavily critiqued on the eve of the season. Roos wingman Jared Polec was subbed out before half-time after succumbing to another hamstring injury – the same setback that interrupted his summer. It allowed Kyron Hayden to enter the game for his first minutes of 2021. Midfielder Jed Anderson was also put on ice in the third term with an ankle complaint.
Dogs tall timber too much to handle
North Melbourne's lack of key defensive options were laid bare when Tim English (205cm) started in the forward 50 alongside Josh Bruce (196cm) and Aaron Naughton (204cm). With Aidan Corr (infected foot) joining Robbie Tarrant (kidney) on the sidelines, ex-Dog Lachie Young (189cm) was forced into manning English for long periods as Josh Walker took and Ben McKay tackled Naughton and Bruce. The Roos also used Cam Zurhaar behind the ball at stages, while Todd Goldstein attempted to push back into defence to provide a chop-out.
NORTH MELBOURNE 2.2 3.4 3.8 5.9 (39)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 4.2 9.6 15.10 25.17 (167)
North Melbourne: Stephenson 2, Hall, Larkey, Lazzaro
Western Bulldogs: Bruce 10, Treloar 3, English 3, Naughton 2, Dale 2, Lipinski, McNeil, Dunkley, Bontempelli, Scott
North Melbourne: Ziebell, Simpkin, Stephenson, Hall
Western Bulldogs: Bruce, Treloar, Dunkley, Smith, English, Macrae, Daniel
North Melbourne: Polec (hamstring), Anderson (ankle)
Western Bulldogs: Gardner (shoulder)
North Melbourne: Hayden (replaced Polec)
Western Bulldogs: Lipinski (replaced Gardner)
Crowd: 28,483 at Marvel Stadium