Demons break North’s 17-game AFL hoodoo

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Tomas Bugg kicked three goals to help Melbourne beat North Melbourne at the MCG.Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin has hailed the Demons’ drought-breaking AFL win over North Melbourne as a banner day for the emerging club.
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The 18.15 (123) to 13.8 (86) win on Saturday broke a 17-game losing streak to the Kangaroos.

Their most-recent win over the Kangaroos was in 2006 – also the season of Melbourne’s last finals appearance.

It was also their highest score since round nine, 2016 and was highlighted by an outstanding 50-hit-out game from Max Gawn against rival ruckman Todd Goldstein.

“It’s huge … I’m just rapt for our supporters,” Goodwin said of the win.

“It’s not too often you get opportunities – you get them in finals; you get them in grand finals; you get them in some home-and-away games where they’re really important.

“We had an opportunity today to help change the narrative of our footy club.

“To actually have the start we did and respond was outstanding.”

Goodwin also hailed Gawn’s game, which helped the Demons to win the centre clearances 20-10.

“That’s probably up there with one of the best games I’ve seen him play,” Goodwin said.

The Demons’ coach was particularly pleased that after North had shot out of the blocks with the first four goals within 13 minutes, his team steadied well before quarter-time.

Melbourne were wasteful at times – 23 inside 50s to eight in the third quarter for a return of only 3.6 – but overall, Goodwin was delighted with how they played.

“There was a maturity about the group – a calmness, a real clarity,” he said of their first quarter.

“In the end, it was probably fairly defining to stop that momentum.”

Kangaroos coach Brad Scott ruefully joked that they could not put an extra player into the centre bounces to quell Gawn’s domination.

“Goldy responded at times but, on the whole, Gawn really got a hold of him,” Scott said.

North worked hard and were far from disgraced, with Ben Cunnington leading the way, and tagger Ben Jacobs was solid on Demons onballer Clayton Oliver.

But Scott said the support at the contest that defined their big win over St Kilda was missing against the Demons.

“It’s being left to too few,” Scott said.

The two main key forwards were an interesting contrast – Melbourne’s Jesse Hogan only kicked one goal, while North’s Ben Brown booted four.

But Hogan played more the modern role, repeatedly going up the ground and amassing a career-best 26 possessions.

In a major blow for North, vice-captain Robbie Tarrant was a late withdrawal with hamstring soreness. Majak Daw showed positive signs in his place as a key defender.

Scott is hopeful Tarrant will not miss any games.

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