North Melbourne's VFL side has suffered back-to-back losses for the first time this season after suffering a 55-point defeat to a strong Carlton VFL side.
After an arm-wrestle of a first term that saw the margin sit at just three points at quarter-time, the Blues took control of the middle of the game and kicked 11 goals to two in the second and third terms.
The Kangaroos' side was in a state of flux in the morning of the contest due to senior call-ups for Miller Bergman and Atu Bosenavulagi, while Charlie Comben was a late exclusion from the side due to knee soreness.
Stand-in VFL coach Tom Lynch says while the opening quarter was pleasing, the capitulation through the middle half of the game was frustrating.
"Something we wanted to concentrate on this week was getting off to a really fast start. It was really a focus to start the game well and we did that," Lynch told North Media.
"We thought we were going OK but the second and third quarters were really disappointing. Carlton are a really strong side at this level and they've demonstrated that early in the season.
"It's exciting that Miller got his opportunity at AFL level, he's really deserved it because he's been in great form in the VFL. That in turn gave Hamish Murphy his first opportunity this season and he had a strong game."
BLUES v KANGAROOS Full match coverage and stats
Both team's had plenty of AFL-level talent running through the middle of the ground, with Tom Powell, Will Phillips and Jed Anderson taking on the likes of Carlton's Paddy Dow and former Bulldog Will Hayes.
Anderson and Phillips are both continuing their returns to full fitness and displayed good inside midfield craft against strong opposition.
Phillips finished the clash with 18 disposals and three clearances while Anderson registered 13 disposals, six tackles and four clearances in his limited game time.
"We're being mindful of those boys' return to play. Obviously Jed has missed a lot of time in the pre-season and part of his plan was to play three quarters today. He was really strong for us in the middle," Lynch said.
"Will played his first full game back so it was really good for him to be able to get that under his belt. Hopefully he can continue to build over the next couple of weeks."
Second-year midfielder Tom Powell was challenged by senior coach David Noble mid-week to put a string of good performances together at VFL level, and Powell was once again one of the Kangaroos' top performers at reserve level.
Spending most of his time in the midfield, Powell finished with a game-high seven clearances and impressed with his clean disposal in the contest.
Lynch says he has no doubt Powell will earn another opportunity at senior level if he keeps up his current vein of form.
"For Tom, I know he's working really hard to improve his game and become the best version of himself he can be. Learning his craft and playing VFL football is a really important part of that," he said.
"Hopefully in the coming days or weeks or whenever he gets his opportunity he's ready to go. I've got no doubt he's going to have a long AFL career."
On a day where North's forwards tended to struggle under the weight of the midfield pressure being exerted by the opposition, Mat Walker stepped up and kicked four of his team's nine goals across the day.
After he opened his account with a classy forward crumb, Walker then took a number of strong marks to finish with six scoring shots for the day.
Lynch says he's happy with how the forward has responded after a couple of quiet weeks inside 50.
"He was fantastic. 'Walks' will be the first to admit he wasn't pleased with how he went last week and to see him respond the way he did was really pleasing," Lynch said.
"It was great for us to see as coaches, and it was great for his teammates to see too. He was really able to stand up and create a lot of opportunities for us on quite a small number of entries."
A senior call-up to Callum Coleman-Jones and exclusion of Comben meant Jacob Edwards entered the Carlton clash as North's only AFL-listed tall. In his way were 210cm ruck Alex Mirkov and 44-game defender Tom Williamson.
Zach Monkhorst came into the side and took on the bulk of the ruck duties with Edwards elected to fulfil the role of the team's primary forward target for much of the game.
When he did chop into the ruck he competed well and played one of his most impressive games in a Kangaroos jumper to date.
"We were a little bit thin on talls today and I thought Jacob competed really well. He rotated really well with 'Monkey' in the ruck and I don't think either side was really dominant in that area of the ground," Lynch said.
A corky limited Charlie Lazzaro's impact in the latter stages of the game but he impressed with his versatility and kicked two smartly taken goals. Sam Collins' strength in the contest saw him gather 16 disposals for the day.
CARLTON 4.3 9.8 15.8 17.12 (114)
NORTH MELBOURNE 4.0 5.1 7.2 9.5 (59)
Jed Anderson: 13 disposals, six tackles, four clearances
Jackson Archer: Nine disposals, two marks, two tackles
Jacob Edwards: Nine disposals, two marks, five hitouts, one clearance
Josh Goater: Six disposals*
Kyron Hayden: Eight disposals
Charlie Lazzaro: Eight disposals, two goals
Matt McGuinness: 16 disposals, eight marks
Will Phillips: 18 disposals, two tackles, three clearances
Tom Powell: 18 disposals, four tackles, seven clearances
Pat Walker: 17 disposals, six marks, two clearances
*Suffered concussion in the first quarter
Best of VFL-listed
Sam Collins: 16 disposals, six marks
Marty Hore: 24 disposals, seven marks
Harry Jones: 16 disposals, five clearances
Zach Monkhorst: Eight disposals, one goal, 19 hitouts
Mat Walker: 13 disposals, four goals, two tackles