Port Adelaide have recorded their first win of the AFL season after pipping North Melbourne by eight points in an Etihad Stadium epic.
The battle between last year’s two beaten preliminary finalists on Saturday night lived up to its billing.
Lindsay Thomas kicked three goals in the final quarter, including two in the space of 80 seconds, to put the Kangaroos in front late.
With a tick over four minutes remaining, Aaron Young waltzed into an open goal to regain the lead for Port.
Kane Mitchell then stepped up with the match winner as the Power prevailed 17.11 (113) to 16.9 (105).
North coach Brad Scott will be incredibly frustrated by the result, but the way his charges fought back despite a glut of injuries was remarkable.
Last-minute withdrawal Daniel Wells (achilles) joined Nick Dal Santo (hamstring) on the sidelines, robbing the team of two of their cleanest users.
That was nothing compared with a brutal first quarter.
Kangaroos Jack Ziebell and Sam Wright staggered to the rooms after being cleaned up in marking contests.
Wright emerged at quarter time and played out the match.
Ziebell did neither.
The hard nut, who was coughing up blood after his collision with Ollie Wines, was taken to hospital for scans.
Substitute Ben Jacobs entered the fray in the first term, ensuring the visitors would have the advantage when it came to fresh legs.
Little good it did them, with Mason Wood and Drew Petrie kicking goals in the fourth term before Thomas’ show-stopping efforts.
The attrition had looked to be taking its toll late in the first half, when Port piled on three goals in the space of four minutes to grab a 20-point lead at the major break.
The Kangaroos’ desperation was magnificent, especially given the frenzied pressure dished up by the Power.
Port weren’t without their own injury concerns, namely Wines (hand) and Matt White (ankle), while North ruckman Todd Goldstein (finger) was also off the park in the early stages.
Power forward Jay Schulz booted four goals, while Brad Ebert starred in his 150th match.