MELBOURNE has thrashed North Melbourne by 90 points in an AFL mis-match marred by a horror leg injury to Kangaroos youngster Charlie Comben.
The Demons killed off the contest with the first six goals and gave their percentage a healthy boost with Saturday night's 22.7 (139) to 7.7 (49) win at the MCG.
Comben, who has a history of left leg injuries, was hurt when he went for a mark in the opening quarter.
Play was held up for several minutes and significantly, the Seven Network opted against showing a replay of the gruesome incident.
Comben was hospitalised with a suspected broken leg.
Completing a disastrous night for the Roos, Tom Powell needed help from trainers as he went off with a leg injury in the last term.
The Dees kicked their highest score this year and were on track for their biggest winning margin against the Kangaroos, before North kicked the last three goals of the match.
Melbourne midfielder Clayton Oliver may have picked up three more Brownlow Medal votes with his 37 possessions, while Christian Petracca and Angus Brayshaw, in his 150th game, also shone.
Cameron Zurhaar kicked North's first goal late in the opening term and the Demons led by 44 at the first change.
The Demons continued their rampage, kicking five goals to one in the second term for a 66-point lead at the main break.
Alex Neal-Bullen was rewarded with a goal for an outstanding run-down tackle on an unsuspecting Luke McDonald late in the second quarter.
Bayley Fritsch is a seriously underrated footballer
When it comes to talk of the best small forwards in the comp the names Charlie Cameron, Tom Papley and Izak Rankine invariably come up among others, but Bayley Fritsch rarely gets a mention. Well, it's time the talk changed. Fritsch has twice made the All-Australian shortlist, led the Demons' goalkicking the last three seasons and kicked six on Grand Final day. Oh yeah, and he has the longest-running goalkicking spree in the league with at least one major in each of his last 35 games. Is it because he doesn't have the flair of Cameron? The celebration of Papley? The unpredictability of Rankine? Whatever the reason, it's time the name Fritsch was elevated as high as his hair.
Just what is Melbourne's best forward set up?
Melbourne's two key forwards on Saturday were Jacob van Rooyen in his fifth game and Josh Schache in his first as a Demon. It's not that the list is devastated by injury - both Tom McDonald and Ben Brown are available - it's just seems that Simon Goodwin is happy to throw the magnets in the air and go with whatever combination lands on the board. And when you have Bayley Fritsch, Kozi Pickett and Kade Chandler waiting at the big guys' feet and a midfield full of gun runners that love to kick a goal, does it even matter who is standing in the goalsquare? Facing Melbourne is like playing Squid Games - it's impossible to prepare when you have no idea what you'll be facing from week to week.
MELBOURNE 8.2 13.3 16.4 22.7 (139)
NORTH MELBOURNE 1.0 2.3 4.6 7.7 (49)
Melbourne: Fritsch 4, Pickett 3, Petracca 3, Chandler 3, Grundy 2, Viney, van Rooyen, Sparrow, Rivers, Neal-Bullen, Schache, Bowey
North Melbourne: Zurhaar 3, Larkey 2, Shiel, Cunnington
Melbourne: Petracca, Oliver, Fritsch, Chandler, Brayshaw, Viney, Bowey
North Melbourne: Sheezel, Simpkin, Zurhaar, Ziebell, McDonald
North Melbourne: Comben (leg), Coleman-Jones (Concussion), Tom Powell (ankle)
Melbourne: James Harmes (replaced Michael Hibberd in the fourth quarter)
North Melbourne: Daniel Howe (replaced Charlie Comben in the first quarter)
Crowd: 29,455 at the MCG