For Carlton, it is a rivalry which may not have the same lustre as those with Collingwood, Essendon and Richmond. And, for North Melbourne, it's most despised enemy remains the Bombers. But there is something about the history between the Blues and Kangaroos which long-time observers believe deserves greater credence.
The likes of Ron Joseph, the long-time Kangaroos administrator these days not on the best of terms with his old club, remember North storming to a qualifying final win over Carlton in 1975 on the way to their breakthrough flag.
"I think most clubs like to beat Carlton. They almost rate as high as Collingwood, particularly through the George Harris, John Elliott era, they were good administrators for their clubs but they could be bloody arrogant," Joseph said.
"It does go back to the '60s. It's probably not as old and as strong as the Collingwood, Carlton rivalry but we have a pretty strong rivalry with Carlton now."
In 1985, the Kangaroos surged to a stunning elimination-final victory which led to the departure of Blues coach David Parkin and a change in captaincy.
Two years later there was the infamous "Battle of Britain", sparked by Carlton defender Ian Aitken having his jaw broken by Alastair Clarkson in an exhibition match at the Oval in London.
Stephen Kernahan recently told Fairfax Media he had not forgotten comments made by then North coach Denis Pagan heading into the 1995 preliminary final.
"We don't feel any pressure, we don't feel any expectation," Pagan had said. "Carlton, on the other hand, have [won] 14 games on the trot. You can imagine Jack Elliott and Wes Lofts running around with big guillotines at the minute, ready to chop heads off if they fall over.
"We don't feel any pressure at all. Win, lose or draw next week, nothing's going to happen to our blokes. I know what's going to happen at Royal Parade."
Said Kernahan before standing down as president last month: "We won that game by 10 goals, blew them away late."
The Roos would have the last laugh four years later, though, when they ran over the Blues on the grandest day of the AFL calendar.
"I think the rivalry grows stronger when you have won a premiership against them, too," Joseph said.
"That automatically makes the rivalry something it would not have been before."
There was earlier hostility in 1991 when then Carlton president John Elliott and the Blues attempted a hostile takeover bid of the Kangaroos by purchasing a parcel of shares owned by former North chairman Bob Ansett. The Blues secured 20 per cent of the capital and held on to the shares for a decade before they were bought back by North board member John Magowan.
Elliott last year revealed the Blues had also planned to merge with the Kangaroos again in 1999 in a move initiated by former Kangaroos president, the late Ron Casey.
"Ron Casey came to me at the beginning of the year and said: 'We're struggling financially, we ought to re-open and have a look at merging'," Elliott said.
"He said, 'I'm ready to engineer a merger between Carlton and North Melbourne in '99'.
"Again the problem turned out to be that, who played off in the grand final, it was Carlton and North Melbourne. So we were stymied again. They would not let that through."
After the 2002 season, Pagan, by then a dual premiership coach, was lured to Princes Park despite the best efforts of Roos' major shareholder Peter de Rauch to raise extra funds to retain him.
In recent times, there has been plenty of on-field heat. Chris Judd was suspended for four matches in 2012 for his so-called "chicken wing" tackle on Leigh Adams. Judd vehemently denied he set out to hurt the North midfielder. The Blues last year contributed to the Kangaroos missing the finals by hanging on for a one-point win in round 17, having led by 29 points four minutes into the final term. Brent Harvey would have kicked the winning goal in the dying moments had the ball just sat up for him.
For all of this though, the two clubs have worked closely in recent times, to build what has become an annual Friday-night clash in the back half of the season, and also in pushing to share Good Friday football - should it be given the go ahead.
However, with the Roos' finals hopes again to be shaped by the Blues on Friday night, and with Mick Malthouse and his men having endured a rugged week, don't expect a great deal of friendliness to be on show.