“For whatever reason, the conditions or the week we’ve had … the guys acknowledged [that first half], they put their hand up and were keen to do something about it. I thought some really significant guys stood up for us.”
The Roos didn’t roll over the final term, finding goals through Curtis Taylor and Nick Larkey to cut a 20-point deficit back to eight points, but Stringer stepped up to the plate, capitalising on a turnover to kick back out to a 15-point lead.
But Taylor responded quickly, slotting a goal from the boundary to bring the margin back to nine points and Cam Zurhaar goalled to make it a three-point game after marking on the lead from a centre clearance.
But, again, it was Stringer who steadied the ship, kicking his fourth goal from a set shot after Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti caused a crucial forward-50 turnover.
Cale Hooker then made sure of the result, kicking a long-range set shot of his own to stretch the lead back out to an insurmountable 16 points.
Peter Wright had a break-out game with 20 disposals, seven marks and three goals while Brayden Ham kicked a crucial goal in the final term as his side was asserting its dominance.
Aaron Hall, who had 28 kicks, three handballs and 14 marks, was his side’s most prolific player along with Tarryn Thomas.
Roos coach David Noble said his side showed glimpses but just couldn’t put it all together.
“In some ways it probably was [a missed opportunity],” Noble said.
“I think we had more chances at times, but having said that, they had seven shots on goal that they weren’t all that accurate on in the second so there’s going to be an argument both ways.
“I felt we had capacity to put more scoreboard pressure on. I think our ball movement was really sharp at times and it was quite damaging, but we couldn’t put enough scoreboard pressure on in that first half.”
Essendon: Stringer, Parish, Merrett, Wright, Heppell.
North Melbourne: Hall, Thomas, Simpkin, McDonald.
Jake Stringer (Essendon) 8
Darcy Parish (Essendon) 8
Zach Merrett (Essendon) 8
Aaron Hall (North Melbourne) 7
Tarryn Thomas (North Melbourne) 7