Around two goals separated the two teams for the first three quarters, which led to a tense final break.
Round 1 of this intriguing 2021 AFL season continued on Sunday afternoon with the Roos hosting the Power under the roof of Marvel Stadium.
Port, going in hot favourites, had a world of confidence after a strong pre-season performance against showdown rivals Adelaide. North Melbourne, on the other hand, were looking to send a message to the rest of the competition as they looked to show off young guns and new recruits.
The game was hot early with sides jostling for the upper hand. The atmosphere under the roof was electric as North Melbourne showed plenty of promise, taking it right up to the Power.
Luke Davies-Uniacke was absolutely dominant, kicking a late goal in the first term, and youngster Tom Powell kicked his first major in the AFL, giving Roos fans plenty to cheer about as they rolled into quarter time with a slender two-point lead.
The second term exposed North completely. It was a massive turnaround to their first quarter performance. Port Adelaide had turned up the heat and were flexing their muscle, which was evident on the scoreboard.
Port kicked eight goals to just one from North and this had the North players praying for halftime to arrive. Orazio Fantasia kicked three second-quarter goals, continuing on from his pre-season form when he kicked 3.3 in the first half against Adelaide.
Charlie Dixon troubled the scorers with two majors, starting off his campaign, as he looks to finish high in the Coleman race this year. The Power were well and truly in control at halftime, with a huge 40-point buffer.
When resuming from the main break, the Power looked to continue their onslaught as Riley Bonner and Travis Boak both scored goals within the first five minutes of the term, extending the Power’s lead to 52 points.
Promising young Roo Bailey Scott stemmed the flow of eight unanswered Port goals with a goal after a 50-metre penalty.
Both sides went tit for tat for the remainder of the term with Fantasia booting goal number four, Todd Goldstein hitting the scoreboard after a temporary move to full forward and Zak Butters finishing off the term with a simple set shot. Port were well and truly home with a 54-point lead heading into the final quarter.
Bailey Scott opened the goal-kicking account for both sides in the last with his second major, trimming the margin to under 50 points. Tarryn Thomas hit the scoreboard less than a minute later, giving North Melbourne fans something to cheer about.
The Power then began to make it look like a training drill. Lycett was left one out in the forward 50 against Connor Menadue where he marked and finished and Steven Motlop waltzed to 35 metres out unattended and finished with class.
North were gutsy to hang around as Jack Mahoney scored a goal from a free kick and Tarryn Thomas kicked his second but they were no match for the Power’s class. Port were home comfortably by 52 points.
North Melbourne were blown away in the second quarter, unable to match Port Adelaide in any facet of the contest. Although their first quarter is something they can hold their heads high about. Their intensity was top notch, applying pressure to Port Adelaide.
Bailey Scott showed plenty with a couple of goals, as did Tarryn Thomas. Luke Davies-Uniacke dominated early and showed that he is one to look out for.
From a Port Adelaide perspective, they would be pleased with their own performance. Everybody played their role and their new recruits Aliir Aliir and Orazio Fantasia were absolutely superb. Travis Boak was dominant and it would be a shock if he didn’t claim the three Brownlow votes for the game.
North Melbourne now prepare for next week’s battle with the Suns on the Gold Coast while the Power have the Bombers at Adelaide Oval.