North Melbourne thump Carlton by 51 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

North Melbourne thump Carlton by 51

By Adam Cooper 17/08/2008 07:48:24 PM Comments (0)

Carlton coach Brett Ratten believes Brendan Fevola's domination of the Blues' forward line is to the detriment of his AFL team's development.

Carlton were no match for North Melbourne at Telstra Dome despite Fevola's six goals, and the Kangaroos' 51-point win - and St Kilda's defeat of Fremantle - effectively ended the Blues' finals ambitions.

Fevola has 90 goals for the year and could become only the second Blue after Alex Jesaulenko in 1970 to post a century in a season, but Carlton's over-reliance on their spearhead has Ratten worried.

He conceded after the 22.9 (141) to 14.6 (90) defeat that Carlton players were guilty of too often passing to Fevola, even when he was out-numbered.

Fevola has kicked almost a third of Carlton's 293 majors this season, and Eddie Betts (25, although sidelined today) and Brad Fisher (22) are the only others over 20.

Carlton's Fevola focus allowed North to get extra defenders helping out Josh Gibson, while they had 11 goal kickers at the other end.

Ratten said Carlton could not afford to continually rely on Fevola for the bulk of the side's scoring.

"If you go down that path you probably won't make the top eight," he said.

"Sometimes we went out of our way to kick the ball to him.

"He played fairly well, Brendan, he started off well and competed hard, but if we can't find other players in that front 50 ..."

Ratten said while Carlton's midfielders were too often Fevola-focused, other forwards were culpable of either leading too far up the ground or not at all.

At half-time he urged his forwards to stay closer to goal, but was annoyed to see little change.

"That was very disappointing, that we said maybe play at home a bit more and blokes are maybe worrying about possessions instead of worrying about what they need to do for the team," he said.

"That might have taken a bit of pressure off Brendan and maybe given us a chance a bit more of hitting the scoreboard."

Ratten said the onus was equally on players with the ball to consider other options, and for those in attack to have a greater impact.

"We need to get better as a team to honour these players," he said.

"When someone's got three behind their name, the opposition starts looking closer."

North's better spread of goal kickers was reflected in returns of three goals to David Hale, Shannon Grant, Brent Harvey and Leigh Harding.

Hale's strong marking and Grant's roving helped the Roos slam through six goals in 15 minutes in the second term to turn a six-point deficit at quarter-time to a 32-point lead.

Harvey enhanced his Brownlow Medal prospects with a game-high 30 disposals and three goals after half-time, while Harding's dash from the backline was instrumental in the win.

Not all of Fevola's work was good, as he and teammate Shaun Grigg conceded 50-metre penalties before half-time, which took Harding from the back pocket to a gift goal.

North coach Dean Laidley conceded his side's structure meant they were not reliant on one forward, and was pleased to post a sixth successive victory after a poor start.

"We were pretty sloppy in first quarter, and allowed Carlton to kick some easy goals," he said.

"We turned over the footy and we haven't done that for a while, but after we got together at quarter-time we re-set sail and I thought we were pretty good."

Defeat came as a reality check for Carlton, who earmarked this clash as a progress report on top of keeping their finals aspirations alive.

"It's probably the biggest game we've had for seven years as a footy club and we got comprehensively beaten," Ratten said.

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