AFL TIGERS KANGAROOS
Richmond have flexed their premiership muscle to heap more pain on North Melbourne with a 54-point AFL victory at Metricon Stadium.
The Tigers kicked the first six goals of Saturday night's match as the injury-hit Kangaroos slumped to a fifth-straight defeat, 11.11 (77) to 2.11 (23).
Adding injury to insult, the Kangaroos lost Cameron Zurhaar (calf) before the match, captain Jack Ziebell (hamstring) in the first quarter and youngster Kyron Hayden (concussion) to injury.
Hayden was taken off on a stretcher in the third quarter after a courageous attempt at a mark against Tigers forward Tom Lynch.
Dustin Martin and Mabior Chol kicked two each for the Tigers while Jake Aarts kicked his first two AFL goals in the final term.
Shaun Higgins was the standout in a well-beaten North Melbourne team, picking up a game-high 36 disposals.
North's struggles began before the kick-off with Zurhaar a late omission.
The Roos' fortunes didn't get any better after the opening bounce as the premiers held them scoreless in the first quarter.
North could muster only one Inside 50 to Richmond's 18 as the Tigers kicked four-unanswered goals to be 27 points clear at the first turn.
The horror quarter for Rhyce Shaw's men finished with Ziebell injuring his hamstring and being ruled out for the remainder of the match.
The second quarter was North's best of the match as they kicked late goals through Trent Dumont and Josh Walker to win the term by a point.
That however was the Kangaroos' only majors of the game as they failed to kick a goal in the second half.
"The numbers probably suggest that we're in and around the ball ... we were doing a lot right but we just ... we broke down and you break down against Richmond, you're gonna get hurt," Shaw said.
"This is AFL footy so you can't just throw the baby out with the bathwater.
"We've got to actually take these opportunities and find out who wants to take them and who doesn't.
"At the moment we probably just don't have enough blokes rowing the boat."
Out-of-sorts forward Ben Brown's struggles continued, with the Roos' leading goalkicker for the past four seasons missing three set shots to finish without a major.
The Tigers had injury concerns of their own with Josh Caddy (hamstring) limping out of the match in the second quarter, while Dylan Grimes was placed on report for high contact on Mason Wood just before halftime.
Victory lifts Richmond to fourth on the ladder despite the absence of several key players including Trent Cotchin and Dion Prestia ahead of Friday's grand-final rematch against GWS in Sydney.
"We've been playing OK in spits and spurts but the things that we measure from a template point of view have all been strong," Tigers coach Damien Hardwick said.
"We've just got to make sure we played a little bit better from a finishing and execution point of view.
"We're going OK, but we can certainly play, I think, a hell of a lot better."
North next play Carlton on Saturday at the Gabba.