Jy Simpkin (40 disposals), Jaidyn Stephenson (32) and Luke Davies-Uniacke (23) worked hard in a losing cause.
Essendon were best served by Zach Merrett (37 disposals, eight clearances), Mason Redman (32 disposals) and Nick Hind (22), while tall swing-man James Stewart played forward and kicked three goals – his first scores in two years.
Peter Wright, Kyle Langford and Harrison Jones kicked two goals apiece.
The only sour note for the Bombers was Jye Caldwell’s calf injury.
Already hit hard by COVID-19, North Melbourne lost Lachie Young and Jack Mahony as late withdrawals before the bounce.
The pair joined teammates Aidan Corr, Paul Curtis and Aaron Hall on the sidelines through virus protocols.
Essendon also suffered a late blow when Dylan Shiel was ruled out with a hamstring issue.
Stringer’s big day began with six disposals, three tackles and three goals in the first quarter.
He would have had a fourth major for the term if a quick snap had not brushed a North defender’s finger on the goal line – a fact confirmed by one of three score reviews before quarter-time.
The Bombers led by 15 points at quarter-time, doubled the advantage during the second term and stayed in control on the scoreboard throughout the second half.
ESSENDON 5.1 9.5 13.6 17.12 (114)
NORTH MELB 2.4 5.6 7.9 9.12 (66)
Essendon: Stringer 5, Stewart 3, Langford 2, Wright 2, Jones 2, Redman, Guelfi, Merrett.
North Melb: Zurhaar 4, Anderson, Coleman-Jones, Scott, Goldstein, Turner.
Essendon: Merrett, Redman, Stringer, Zerk-Thatcher Laverde, Langford.
North Melb: Zurhaar, Simpkin, Stephenson, Horne-Francis, McDonald.
Essendon: Caldwell (calf).
CROWD 29,549 at Marvel Stadium.
Keep up to date with the best AFL coverage in the country. Sign up for the Real Footy newsletter.