MELBOURNE has secured its 17th-straight AFL win, barely getting out of second gear in accounting for an improved North Melbourne by 47 points.
Last year’s wooden spooners put in one of their best efforts of the season, even closing within six points midway through the third quarter, but the Demons (10-0) simply had too many weapons at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.
After booting the last two goals of the third quarter to lead by 22 points at the final change, Melbourne, who have rebranded themselves as Narrm for Sir Doug Nicholls Round, ran out winners 14.16 (100) to 8.5 (53).
Star midfielder Clayton Oliver was clearly the best player on the ground, grabbing a career-high 45 possessions – the second time this season he has passed the magical 40 mark in a game – and 13 clearances.
After five weeks of uncompetitive performances that have shone the spotlight on coach David Noble, North fought hard until the Demons’ weight of numbers – 74 inside-50s to 34 – eventually won out.
Tom McDonald and Bayley Fritsch kicked three goals each for the Demons, as did Cameron Zurhaar for North.
Melbourne’s only concern was a suspected rib injury to winger Ed Langdon, who was on the end of a big Tarryn Thomas tackle in the first quarter.
Langdon was subbed out of the match for small forward Toby Bedford.
The Kangaroos’ Curtis Taylor also suffered a rib injury and was replaced by Atu Bosenavulagi in the final term.
Melbourne will host Fremantle in a top-four showdown at the MCG next Saturday, while the Kangaroos will be back at Docklands to face St Kilda on Sunday.
The Demons now have the most consecutive wins any AFL team has racked up since St Kilda won the first 19 games of the 2009 season.
They are just two wins away from equalling the historic club’s greatest streak, set back in 1955-56.
(C) AAP 2022