North Melbourne have crushed Richmond’s season in one incredible quarter, producing one of their greatest-ever comebacks to win comfortably at Etihad Stadium.
Beaten and bruised at halftime, North Melbourne’s second half made amends for a dismal first, winning 17.14 (116) to 13.10 (88).
The Kangaroos condensed their Jekyll and Hyde season into Sunday night’s match, turning around 35-point half-time deficit to a 15-point lead in 20 minutes.
Richmond’s ferocity was stolen by North Melbourne; the Tigers completely imploded, conceding goal after goal.
Drew Petrie was irrepressible in the air, Brent Harvey was lethal by foot and Levi Greenwood provided the run to power them home.
For all of the heartbreak endured by Richmond fans over the years, there cannot be many tougher days than this.
From the opening bounce, the Tigers were tough, played with purpose and looked set for an upset.
With a nod to their last-out defeat to Essendon, Richmond’s banner read “Restore the Roar”, and that’s what they set about doing.
A tight opening quarter finished with the Tigers one point up and unlucky not to be further ahead.
Their relentless pressure told in the second term, with Aaron Edwards, Dustin Martin twice, Ty Vickery and Ivan Maric all kicking truly in a nine-minute stretch to put the Tigers well on top.
Martin’s 19-touch four-goal half particularly impressed.
The Kangaroos looked demoralised and destroyed; with Scott Thompson’s late and wild swing of the arm to Riewoldt’s head sure to be analysed.
But whatever Brad Scott told his team at halftime will go down in North Melbourne folklore.
They were unrecognisable after the main break, slamming on eight goals in sixteen minutes.
Petrie kicked three, with Robin Nahas and Harvey also prominent.
The Tigers had a chance to recover when Petrie missed an easy kick for his fourth, and Matt Dea stole in with a goal to break the flow.
But eight points was as close as the Tigers got, the Kangaroos closing out the match with a five-goal final term.
Only once in their history had the Kangaroos come back from such a half-time deficit, finishing 28 points to the good.
Scott said relief was his dominant emotion after the match.
“I thought it showed the unbelievable resolve and character of our group to be outplayed… and respond,” he said.
Tigers coach Damien Hardwick said fans had probably seen their best and worst halves of footy for the year in one match.