THE ELUSIVE four-quarter performance continues to haunt North Melbourne in its quest for improvement.
The Roos were only eight points behind Carlton at half-time, but went into the final break 40 points adrift after the Blues accelerated away in a dominant third term before cruising to a 50-point win.
North has now lost its past three matches by a combined 178 points with their average losing margin this year ballooning to 52.8 points.
BLUES v KANGAROOS Full match coverage and stats
"We came here to win, there's no doubt we wanted to win the game. Three quarters again, I think for us it was a bit of a step forward on the last couple of weeks," coach David Noble said.
"One of the challenges for us was to get into the game when the heat's in the kitchen, and I think 20 minutes into the second quarter we were even, then we went in (to half-time) a goal off.
"I felt the players were ready to come out, but there's an opposition who want to step up the tempo, put some bigger bodies and they got hold of the ball and we're into that cycle of chasing the game again.
"I still think there were a lot of positives that came out of our game. As I said, quarters one, two and four – not that you get any points for that – but the essence of what we try to continue to build and grow, contested ball was in a better position tonight, ground balls minus three and contested ball minus five. The battle, I think, was heaps better for us tonight."
Centre bounces were a serious issue for North Melbourne, despite the combined dominance of Todd Goldstein and Callum Coleman-Jones in the ruck against youngster Tom De Koning.
"I think Carlton tried to get it through the corridor, we thought we protected that not too badly in the second quarter, but we just didn't defend the ground as well in that third quarter," Noble said.
"Centre bounces seemed to be a bit of an issue for us for the night. They scored 30 points and had nine shots out of that, which is normally one of our staples this year. They retained possession, we didn't work hard enough to get it back at that point in time."
Noble said he thought undersized defenders Aiden Bonar and Josh Walker were "gallant" against powerful Blues combo Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow (a combined seven goals), having lost Aidan Corr to health and safety protocols before the start of the game.
The Roos are hopeful debutant Miller Bergman's shoulder injury isn't too serious, having suffered a dislocation during the game.
Meanwhile, victorious Carlton coach Michael Voss said he had noticed a shift in the team's mentality of late.
"We're pretty committed with this direction we're going in. That hope that we had is starting to turn into some belief about the way we're going about it, and now so for us, the challenge is how we provide that consistency week in and week out and right throughout quarters," Voss said.
"We stuck at it for longer, I thought North brought a really challenging brand to us. They certainly want to put speed on the game, the game was really fast early and we could have come in at half-time and strayed from what we were doing.
"But I felt we were really confident in the process we were going with. We just needed to keep doing it. The boys really bought into it, didn’t deviate from the plan and we were able to execute it on the night, which was really pleasing."
Voss said late withdrawal Zac Williams (Achilles soreness) and George Hewett (corked calf) are likely to be right to play Adelaide next Sunday, while more will be known about Liam Stocker's shoulder injury in a couple of days.