Victory over West Coast in Perth is one of the most difficult tasks a team can be presented with over the course of an AFL season, however North Melbourne has achieved just that, as it defeated the Eagles on Monday night.

In a game full of ebbs and flows, lead changes and momentum swings, a powerful fourth quarter performance saw North overcome the home side by just 10 points.

Making the task even more difficult were the tough weather conditions on the night, with howling wind and rain impacting the first half and limiting scoring opportunities.

When the weather cleared up, both teams surged to the finish line with 9 of the games 18 goals being kicked in the final term, but it was North who came out on top.

The victory marks North’s third of the season, and David Noble is under no illusions about how meaningful the result could be to his side moving forward.

“It’s a significant achievement for our club. It’s tough to play here, it’s tough to win. It’s a long trip but they’re such a good team and have been over a long period of time, it’s such a hard trip,” Noble said.

“The growth, the experience our guys have gained tonight, travelling away and playing a mature team, a team in the finals in generally a hostile environment … show some resilience and show some grit.

“It’s a massive tick to the players for what we’re trying to build together and our members are involved in that. It’s a significant night for our club.”

09:16 Mins
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David Noble post-match (Round 17, 2021)

The North Melbourne coach chats to the media after the big win.

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The performance of Jaidyn Stephenson was integral to this achievement, with the midfielder offering up his most complete game since joining the club at the start of the season.

Finishing with a game high 38 disposals and 547 metres gained, Stephenson also kicked a crucial goal from the 50-metre arc in the final quarter, prompting passionate celebrations from the number 2 and his teammates.

With Stephenson undergoing a positional change since his arrival at the club, Noble says the club is understanding how best to use him in all parts of the ground.

“We’re getting his mix right, I think we’re understanding him in our style. A few times in the midfield in centre bounce, up around the stoppages a few times, back as a forward,” Noble said.

“I think what we learned tonight is the level of intensity we have to play if we want to be a really good team and play finals, that’s the level.

“I think for our guys to get that experience under their belt is going to hold us in really good stead not only for the back end of the year and beyond.”

With Hawthorn now just now just two points in front of North on the ladder, Noble has his sights set on a steady climb over the course of the rest of the season.

With the form North has shown since the bye, a strong finish to the season and a rise up the ladder is certainly not outside the realms of possibility.

He says now his side has shown what it’s capable of, he wants to finish the season with intent.

I don’t want to finish on the bottom … we want to win every game and that’s a fundamental staple,” he said.

“We’ve now got our systems, our processes and our level of intensity that’s at a level where we are going to be competitive in every quarter.

“We were able to wrestle momentum back in the last quarter but that’s not the first time we’ve done that either. 

“What can we achieve in the back end of the year? I’m not sure, but would I like to finish off the bottom? Absolutely.”

06:59 Mins
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Match highlights (Round 17, 2021)

Check out all the best highlights from a famous win.

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