The same North Melbourne who surrendered so meekly to Essendon in round one – that mob who also blew lead after lead last season – might suddenly be the real AFL deal.
The Kangaroos revelled in wet conditions at the SCG on Sunday to score a drought-breaking win over Sydney.
Coupled with last week’s last-quarter comeback against Port Adelaide, the 43-point win is a massive boost for North at the start of a season where they aim to return to the top eight.
It is the first time they have beaten the Swans in nine matches and also their first win at the SCG in five games.
North defender Scott Thompson achieved the rare feat of keeping Lance Franklin goalless for two matches in a row as the `Roos kicked clear to win 13.13 (91) to 6.12 (48).
Franklin was reported for striking Thompson, although the match review panel is likely to throw out the charge.
But after Sydney and Franklin cut loose last weekend against Adelaide, Sunday’s loss will ramp up the pressure on the club and their star recruit.
Sydney are now in the same 1-3 hole as fellow finals aspirants Richmond.
Only two clubs in the last five seasons have recovered from that start to make the top eight.
Richmond were in the gun after Friday night’s 38-point loss to Collingwood, until Carlton took much of the heat off the Tigers a day later.
The upset 23-point loss to Melbourne leaves Carlton joint-bottom with Brisbane on 0-4 – the Blues’ worst start to a season in 25 years.
Meanwhile, the Kangaroos have recovered from their awful round-one loss to Essendon with three wins in a row.
Coach Brad Scott was asked if inevitable talk about North’s improvement could distract his players.
“It can be, but I think our players have got long memories, so they remember the same people were talking them down a month ago,” Scott noted.
“We thought we had a fairly good win last week that we could build on and I sense a fair amount of belief in our players at the moment.”
Also on Sunday, Fremantle rebounded from their miserable grand final rematch against Hawthorn with Sunday’s 53-point belting of Essendon at Subiaco.
The Dockers kicked seven goals to one in the third term on the way to their 18.5 (113) to 9.6 (60) win.
Essendon and Fremantle were depleted and the Bombers also lost star Brendon Goddard early in the match with an apparent groin injury.
At Etihad Stadium, Adelaide ended their barren start to the season with an 86-point domination of St Kilda.
Coach Brenton Sanderson hailed the 20.16 (136) to 7.8 (50) win as a 22-player performance.
Hawthorn and Geelong are the only two unbeaten teams heading into their Easter Monday blockbuster.
The Hawks gave Gold Coast a 99-point education and Geelong ended West Coast’s perfect start to the season, easily beating them by 75.
The Western Bulldogs overran Greater Western Sydney by 27 points and Port Adelaide smashed the Lions by 113.