Cats pour more pressure on Noble

THE pressure continues to build on beleaguered North Melbourne coach David Noble, whose last-placed side suffered a 112-point AFL demolition at Geelong.

The Cats showed no mercy to the undermanned Kangaroos, warming up for next week’s blockbuster against top side Melbourne with a 21.18 (144) to 5.2 (32) romp on Saturday night at GMHBA Stadium.

Already at long odds, North’s job was made even harder when they lost luckless utility Aaron Hall to a hamstring injury in the first two minutes of the game.

That was after Cats star Patrick Dangerfield marked his return after four weeks out with a calf injury by kicking the opening goal of the game from the center bounce after 13 seconds.

Late in the first quarter, with North three goals down, Kayne Turner was also forced out of the match when he hit his head and hurt his knee in a clash with Mark Blivacs.

The Kangaroos rallied, kicking the last three goals of the opening term to trail by just four points at quarter-time.

But the Cats ramped up their team defense to repeatedly force turnovers as they boosted their percentage ahead of next Thursday night’s big game at GMHBA Stadium.

North only managed two goals and 13 inside 50s for the rest of the match.

It is North’s biggest losing margin of the season and comes in the same week that long-time North administrator Geoff Walsh returned to Arden St in an advisory role as they review their football operations.

Walsh sat in the coaches’ box for the match.

This is North’s third three-figure losing margin since Noble took over as coach last season, following their 128-point surrender to the Western Bulldogs in round three in 2021 and Brisbane’s 108-point demolition in round three this year.

It emerged later that Noble had given his players a fierce “spray” after the Lions loss.

North have lost 12 in a row and since round five, their lowest losing margin has been 47 points.

As North continue to wallow at the foot of the ladder, the ruthless Cats took full toll.

Key forwards Jeremy Cameron and Tom Hawkins lapped up the faultless supply from their teammates further up the field.

Cameron was best afield with four goals and 30 possessions, while Hawkins kicked six goals.

Dangerfield was managed through the game in his return from injury and looked in solid touch after his barnstorming start to the game, racking up 19 disposals.

Fellow onballer Mitch Duncan marked his 250th game with 30 possessions and had a shot at goal after the final siren, but could not cap his dream milestone with an accurate kick.

North onballer Luke Davies-Uniacke was outstanding with a game-high 35 possessions and eight clearances in a lone hand for the sorry Kangaroos.

(C) AAP 2022

Image: Geelong Cats


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