The Northern Blues weathered a final quarter scare from the Sandringham Zebras on Saturday to escape with a 12-point victory in front of nearly 3,500 fans at Visy Park.

The win snaps a four game losing streak for the Blues dating back to their round three win against Footscray on April 20 back in Round 3.

Sporadic weather forced droves of supporters into the bleachers for most of the tightly contested match, many of which came to watch the game’s main attraction Chris Judd in action.

As planned, Judd was pulled from the match midway through the final quarter, finishing unscathed with 18 disposals (10 contested), three clearances and two inside 50s.

The dual-Brownlow medalists biggest highlight came in the final quarter when he burst from a stoppage and delivered deep inside 50 to Tom Wilson with Blues’ fans voicing their sentiments.

Despite Judd being the matches’ main interest, it was two of Carlton’s young midfielders in Nick Graham and Jaryd Cachia who stole the show.

Cachia and Graham lead the on-ball brigade to a 45-32 advantage in the clearances, finishing with a combined 65 possessions and three goals.

The Northern midfield division helped control Sandringham’s output, winning the disposal tally by 66 for the afternoon.

Cachia stood particularly tall in a third term that saw four lead changes before Northern kicked away to an 18-point advantage late in the quarter.

Speaking post-game, Cachia said he felt ‘relieved’ to break the losing streak and play his role for the team.

“I think we played the conditions well for most of the day,” said Cachia.

“We came in with a plan that if we executed correctly we were confident we could get the win and we were able to do that as a side.”

The improved execution of the game plan was assisted largely by the ongoing development of Irish talents Ciaran Byrne and Ciaran Sheehan.

Sheehan had his best game of Australian Rules to date in the game with 17 touches in a defensive role across half-back.

Matthew Watson and Dylan Buckley also offered plenty in defence, with Buckley showing determination to return from a knock to his wrist in the second quarter.

For the visitors, James Gwilt was one of Sandringham’s best players for the afternoon showing poise as a swingman at both ends of the ground.

Jimmy Webster was also a catalyst in a final quarter fight-back that saw the Zebras’ draw within two goals of the Blues with 18 minutes remaining.

David Armitage made a successful return to football in his first competitive hitout since round four of the AFL season, registering 20 disposals and six clearances.

The win now has the Blues’ sitting outside the top eight in 10th spot, behind Geelong and North Ballarat on percentage.

Cachia said the team would now need to turn its focus to putting together consistent four-quarter performances in the coming weeks.

“We want to really build on today and keep moving forward and hopefully we can start to string a few together,” he said.

The Blues next match is against Richmond at the ME Bank Centre on Punt Road at 11am next Saturday.

NORTHERN BLUES                             3.3       5.5       9.7       11.7     (75)
SANDRINGHAM ZEBRAS                   3.2       4.6       6.7       9.7       (63)

T. Thomas 2, Wilson 2, Graham 2, Wilkinson, Johnson, Cachia, Reynolds, Temay
SANDRINGHAM: Zijai 2, Webster, Graham, Ong, Stanley, Armitage, Gwilt, Minchington

NORTHERN: Cachia, Graham, Sheehan, Cattapan, Watson, Buckley
SANDRINGHAM: Webster, Gwilt, Holmes, Weickhardt, Roberton, Ong