Melbourne has maintained its unbeaten start to the season and moved to the top of the ladder after surviving a fright from North Melbourne in a 30-point victory at Blundstone Arena on Sunday. 

It looked like a huge upset was on the cards when the Kangaroos led their more-fancied opponents by 19 points at half-time, but the 2021 version of the Demons are made of sterner stuff and upped the ante after the main break to register the 16.7 (103) to 11.7 (73) triumph.

Experienced midfielder Ben Cunnington was at his best in a performance that netted 34 touches, eight clearances and two goals.

Running defender Aaron Hall also picked up 34 touches, while Jy Simpkin (30) and Kayne Turner (27) also impressed in an entertaining midfield battle.

The class of Cunnington and Hall had the winless Kangaroos on the front foot early and with Tom Campbell enjoying some freedom up forward to boot two opening-quarter goals, it was North Melbourne by five points at the first break.

Nick Larkey got in on the act with two majors of his own in the second term and the margin grew to 19 at the half as the thought of an upset looked more than a live chance.

But Jackson and Salem helped turn the game in the third quarter, with Fritsch and Pickett cashing in to ensure the Demons claimed the lead and held a 13-point advantage at the final break.

Cunnington snapped his second early in the final term to give the Kangas some hope, but the Demons' class shone through as the League leaders maintained their poise to make it seven straight.

NORTH MELBOURNE    4.1       9.5       10.6     11.7 (73) 
MELBOURNE                    3.2       6.4       12.7       16.7 (103) 

North Melbourne: Larkey 2, Campebell 2, Cunnington 2, Zurhaar, Mahony, Atley, Simpkin, Powell
Melbourne: Fritsch 6, Pickett 3, Brown 2, Langdon, Jackson, Spargo, Jordan, Oliver

North Melbourne: Cunnington, Hall, Powell, McKay, Turner, Simpkin  
Melbourne: Fritsch, Jackson, Salem, May, Pickett, Petracca


North Melbourne:
Bonar (corked thigh) 
Melbourne: Tomlinson (knee) 

North Melbourne: Menadue (replaced Bonar) 
Melbourne: Jones (replaced Tomlinson)
Crowd: TBC at Blundstone Arena