Riley Hardeman with ball in hand against Footscray in the VFL. Picture: Maddie Green

North Melbourne's VFL side has been defeated by the Footscray Bulldogs by 34 points in a wet, scrappy affair at Arden Street Oval.

It was an even contest early with the Roos heading into the main break with a seven-point lead, but the Dogs showed their class after quarter-time in the slippery conditions and proved why they are premiership contender.

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In his second match back from a bone stress issue, Colby McKercher (26 disposals, two goals, four rebound 50s) was able to impact the scoreboard and drive the ball off the half-back line as one of North Melbourne's best afield.

In the midfield, Charlie Lazzaro (25 disposals, 11 tackles, 11 clearances) put in a strong performance, along with Hugh Greenwood who racked up 13 tackles as well as 12 clearances from 25 disposals.

KANGAROOS v BULLDOGS Full match coverage and stats

Defender Griffin Logue (nine disposals, seven intercepts) completed his second game on return from an ACL injury, featuring in all four quarters of the game.

With the rain pouring down in the first quarter, the opening stages of the match became a territory battle. However, it was the home side that struck first, putting the first two goals on the scoreboard. 

McKercher snagged the and his first in North Melbourne colours after receiving a handball from Finnbar Maley (two goals, five marks) and finishing on the run with class from the 50-metre arc. 

Ten minutes later, repeat inside 50s saw Tyler Sellers have an opportunity on goal, which he converted with a well-taken snap.

The Dogs began to get on top around the ground in the second quarter, but the Roos were still able to keep the scoreboard ticking over which saw them take a seven-point lead into the main change.

Lachlan Wynd and Robert Hansen jnr nailed their set shots before the latter combined with Greenwood to force a turnover late in the second term, allowing McKercher to steam through and slot his second.

Footscray asserted its dominance in the third quarter with Louis Butler's (14 disposals, five tackles) major for the Kangas being the only real moment of reprieve.

The trend continued into the final term as the Dogs created more separation, piling on seven goals to North Melbourne's four.

Maley excited with a handful of efforts around the park and clunked two contested grabs for the afternoon, while Cooper Harvey (20 disposals) put his name on the scoresheet with a late major.

NORTH MELBOURNE            2.1    5.2    6.2    10.3  (63)     
FOOTSCRAY BULLDOGS     2.3    3.7    7.10    14.13  (97)     

GOALS
North Melbourne: McKercher 2, Maley 2, Wynd 2, Sellers, Harvey, Butler, Hansen jnr
Footscray: Croft 3, McNeil 2, Daniel 2, Clarke 2, Scott, Rypstra, Moloney, Jones, Busslinger

BEST  
North Melbourne: McKercher, Lazzaro, Greenwood, Maley, Butler

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