Drew Petrie emerged from his sick bed to kick five goals as the big forward led North Melbourne to a 54-point win over Western Bulldogs in Saturday's AFL round 19 clash at Etihad Stadium.
North led by only four points at halftime against their rank underdog opponents but dominated the second half to win 18.7 (115) to 8.13 (61) before a crowd of just 21,599 fans.
Petrie, who almost didn't play because of 'flu, took his season's tally to 52 goals, one more than previous Coleman Medal leader Lance Franklin.
North (11-7 win-loss) kicked 11 goals to the Bulldogs' two after halftime to notch their seventh victory from their past eight games and hold a spot in the top eight. The Bulldogs suffered their seventh consecutive defeat and 13th for the season.
"Drew Petrie was pretty sick last night. Luckily the fever came down so he was able to play but he was far from his best," Kangaroos coach Brad Scott said.
"It was a fantastic effort for Drew to get up and play."
Scott said getting nine goals from key forwards Drew Petrie (five), Robbie Tarrant (three) and Lachie Hansen (one) was a great result.
"We judge our forward line as a unit," Scott said.
"Hopefully North supporters are starting to realise Tarrant and Hansen aren't going to kick six goals every week."
Tarrant, who was soundly beaten in the first three quarters by Jordan Roughead and was given the bronx cheers by North fans for a rare mark in the third term, fought back with three late goals.
"Ridiculous. It's embarrassing from North Melbourne people," Scott said of the incident.
"Those people want to take a good hard look at themselves. (They've got) no idea."
Veteran midfielder Brent Harvey dominated the second half and Liam Anthony and Ben Cunnington were also strong contributors for the winners.
Onballers Ryan Griffen, Mitch Wallis and Matthew Boyd tried hard for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs led the inside-50s 36-18 at halftime but weren't able to capitalise on the scoreboard, lacking a big marking target.
A four-goal third term including two to Petrie allowed the Kangaroos to clear out to a 24-point lead at three-quarter time after the Bulldogs were held to just one major in the third quarter.
North had overcome their handball-happy style of the first half as the Kangaroos outscored the home side 7.0 to 1.6 in the final term.
Debutants Michael Talia and Jason Johannisen were among eight players in the Bulldogs' lineup with less than 20 games of experience.
"Our tackling pressure dropped away again in the last quarter which opened the game up for them," Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney said.
"They scored way too easily because our pressure fell away, our competitiveness.
"The best lessons are learnt early in your career about how ruthless you've got to be and how hard you have to work."
Both sides have an eight-day break before North face Essendon at Etihad Stadium while the Bulldogs play Richmond at the MCG.