Scott hails Roos' new benchmark
Lying down: James Kelly gets a handpass away after being tackled to the ground at Etihad Stadium yesterday. Photo: Paul Rovere
NORTH MELBOURNE 4.5 9.5 16.8 20.11 (131) GEELONG 1.3 5.8 9.14 16.18 (114)
GOALS - Nth Melb: Edwards 4, Ziebell 4, Bastinac 4, McIntosh 2, Adams 2, Harvey, Harper, Anthony, Thomas. Geelong: Podsiadly 5, Hawkins 4, Motlop 2, Horlin-Smith, Taylor, Duncan, Byrnes, Gillies.
BEST - Nth Melb: Harvey, Wells, Bastinac, Ziebell, Delaney, Firrito. Geelong: Selwood, Bartel, Podsiadly, Kelly, Taylor, Hunt.
INJURIES - Geelong: Mackie (cut lip).
UMPIRES - M Stevic, J Mollison, M Jennings.
CROWD - 29,630,
NORTH Melbourne coach Brad Scott hailed last night's upset win over reigning premier Geelong - coached by his twin brother Chris - as equal to the best in his coaching career.
The 17-point win was the Roos' first over the Cats in almost five years and Brad Scott said the win would give his team belief and impetus.
For Geelong, this was the hangover after the party. On Easter Monday, it had played what will surely be one of the games of the season - a two-point win against Hawthorn at the MCG.
Yesterday, the Cats never really got into the sort of rhythm that has characterised their play during five years of dominance.
Given that this result will be judged as an upset, inevitably the focus will be on Geelong and the effect the six-day break had on its performance, compared with the Kangaroos, whose win over Greater Western Sydney in Hobart last weekend was little more than a training exercise.
But North should take credit for executing a game plan and playing with the intensity and smarts that its coach has demanded.
Brad Scott thought Geelong's exertions against the Hawks had an effect on the outcome yesterday, while Chris was not prepared to use it as an excuse.
Brad said: "Our players have worked really hard the last couple of years to try to play a certain style. We have been working on what we think is [a plan] capable of sustaining finals-type intensity and pressure. We had a longer break and we were well prepared.
"All this does is show the players what we are capable of when we execute the way we wanted to play. It gives them belief in what we are trying to do. Hopefully we will show that we are able to do it on a consistent basis."
Chris refused to make allowances for a below-par performance from his team, which, in truth, were flattered by the final score.
"I'm happy for you to write it, I'm happy for you to think it," the Cats coach said when asked if the Hawthorn game was a factor. "But don't expect me to agree with it. I think it is a feeble excuse and I'm not going to buy into it.
"They used the ball a lot better than we did. Our conversion was poor and, more importantly, our skill level through the middle of the ground was poor.
"We pride ourselves on our skills under pressure and our ability to absorb that [pressure]."
Beaten in the contested possessions in the opening three terms, the Cats hit back in the last quarter to boot seven goals to North's four.
Brent Harvey, skipper Andrew Swallow and Daniel Wells were dominant for the victors, while Ryan Bastinac, Aaron Edwards and Jack Ziebell led the scoring with four goals apiece.
Sam Wright won a special mention for his shutdown role on Geelong star forward Steve Johnson.
Harry Taylor had a huge game for the Cats, keeping Drew Petrie goalless, while Cats forward Tom Hawkins kicked four goals, including three in the final term, after struggling early against North's Luke Delaney.