The Kangaroos have triumphed over a determined Port Adelaide outfit to record their seventh win for the season, and just their second win away from Melbourne, winning 10.16.76 to Port’s 10.14.74. North Melbourne dominated in the second quarter, only for Port to fight back in the third, taking a ten point lead into the final break. From then on, it was an intense struggle between two sides desperate for a win. Immense pressure saw a mistake riddled final quarter, in which North Melbourne managed to lose the least composure, kicking three goals to Port’s one. Harris, Pratt, Power and Simpson starred for the victors, and Firrito and Watt were excellent in defence, while Kane Cornes, Rodan, Lonie and Chaplin were best for the defeated home side.
The game began evenly, neither side able to break away from the other, until Port managed to string two goals together through Nathan Lonie and Adam Thomson. North Melbourne were able to kick back, with goals to Drew Petrie and Nathan Thompson, taking a three point lead into quarter time. Both sides wasted plenty of opportunities to break away in the first quarter, with some easy shots at goal missed, including two almost identical misses from Burgoyne.
The second quarter began with North Melbourne immediately stepping up their intensity. They peppered the goals, extracting two majors from Scott McMahon and Daniel Pratt, and numerous behinds, before Port managed to steady with a goal to Justin Westhoff. From then, it was much the same as the first quarter, neither team able to break out of the deadlock. Behinds were exchanged up until the major break, North Melbourne going in nine points ahead.
The third term brought yet another shift in momentum, as Port wrested back control of the game. Consecutive goals to Shaun Burgoyne and Nathan Lonie saw Port reclaim the lead, as the Roos were caught looking a little flat after half time. Daniel Wells hit back with North’s only goal for the quarter not long after, before Brett Ebert broke away, kicking two unanswered goals before the final break. One of the highlights of the quarter was a superb effort by Troy Chaplin, running down speedster Lindsay Thomas as the goalsneak sped into an open goal early in the quarter, and setting the tone for the rest of the term. At the final break, the game was delicately poised with Port 10 points ahead.
The final term saw the pressure build monumentally, as both sides pressured the other into errors. The first goal went to Ben Ross early, snapping from only a few metres out in front of goal. From then, the two sides traded behinds and ineffective forward 50 entrances, as the need to score in what had been a low scoring match became more pressing. Eventually, Hale was able to slot a goal from 25 out on a slight angle, giving North Melbourne a 2 point lead with half the quarter left to play. Another long stalemate ensued, before Lindsay Thomas slotted one from directly in front, seemingly putting the game out of reach for the Power. However, at the 25 minute mark of the last quarter, Daniel Motlop slotted a goal from 30 out on a 45 degree angle, putting them within three points. With 50 seconds to go, Port’s captain, Warren Tredrea, took a mark deep in the left pocket, giving him a chance to win the game for his side. Unfortunately for the Port fans and players, he was unable to convert from the tight angle, his banana having too much curl and missing to the near side. With 20 seconds to go, North Melbourne wound the clock down, ensuring a tough fought, well earned victory against a valiant opposition.
Port Adelaide: Brett Ebert 3, Nathan Lonie 2, Adam Thomson, Shaun Burgoyne, Greg Bentley, Justin Westhoff, Daniel Motlop
North Melbourne: Scott McMahon 2, Daniel Pratt, Nathan Thompson, Drew Petrie, Adam Simpson, Daniel Wells, David Hale, Ben Ross, Lindsay Thomas
Port Adelaide: Kane Cornes, Nathan Lonie, David Rodan, Troy Chaplin, Brett Ebert, Chad Cornes
North Melbourne: Daniel Harris, Daniel Pratt, Sam Power, Shannon Watt, Adam Simpson
Umpires: Kennedy, Ryan, Nicholls
Crowd: 19 851