NORTH Melbourne have made a dream start to life under Rhyce Shaw, beating Richmond by 37 points in a major upset at Marvel Stadium.
The Shinboner spirit was on full display on Friday night as the Kangaroos out- hunted the AFL’s pressure kings and ran out 15.9 (99) to 9.8 (62) winners in Shaw’s first game as caretaker coach after taking over from Brad Scott.
North won the tackle count (68-55) and contested possessions (153-130) and never looked like being overtaken after booting six goals to one in a brilliant third quarter.
The Roos’ dominant second half came despite being a man down after 150-game milestone man Jamie Macmillan succumbed to a calf injury.
Ben Brown booted five goals, Mason Wood slotted four and senior leaders Jack Ziebell, Ben Cunnington and Shaun Higgins were superb in the midfield.
But it was all about the next generation on a night where the Arden St faithful were in full voice throughout.
Cameron Zurhaar laid 10 tackles, including crunching rundown efforts on Dylan Grimes and Nathan Broad, Jy Simpkin had 14 contested possessions, Luke Davies- Uniacke showed his creativity and Nick Larkey presented well up forward.
North players were left stunned and emotional when they learned of Scott’s immediate departure plans just hours before last week’s game.
While the Roos defeated the Western Bulldogs in Scott’s last hurrah, the question was whether an emotional comedown would follow.
But Zurhaar’s five first-quarter tackles set the tone for a fierce performance that will live long in the memory at Arden St.
Little went right for Richmond despite another superb performance from Dustin Martin, who slotted three goals and had 21 touches.
Bolstered by the return of skipper Trent Cotchin from a long-term hamstring injury, the Tigers started promisingly but were uncharacteristically sloppy with ball in hand and were beaten convincingly around the ball.
Rookie defender Ryan Garthwaite had the massive task of lining up on Brown and was monstered by the Kangaroos spearhead.
At the other end of the ground, Tigers’ recruit Tom Lynch was dominated by Robbie Tarrant in another big scalp for the Kangaroos’ backline leader.
Life won’t get any easier for the Tigers, who host ladder-leaders Geelong next Friday night before travelling to Adelaide Oval to face the Crows.
North Melbourne face Gold Coast on the road next week then host Greater Western Sydney in Hobart.
© AAP 2019
NORTH MELBOURNE 4.1 6.7 12.7 15.9 (99)
RICHMOND 3.2 6.3 7.4 9.8 (62)
Goals: North Melbourne: B Brown 5 M Wood 4 J Anderson 2 J Polec J Simpkin N Larkey T Thomas. Richmond: D Martin 3 D Butler 2 D Astbury D Prestia J Castagna T Lynch.
Official Crowd: 29,326 at Marvel Stadium.