NORTH Melbourne has broken a seven-year round one hoodoo, rebounding from a four-goal deficit to outlast Adelaide by 10 points in a thrilling game at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.
Entering Saturday night's game, the Roos had not won a round one game since 2009 and that did not look like changing when Adelaide captain Taylor Walker kicked the first goal of the second half to put the Crows ahead by 24 points.
But three third-quarter goals from evergreen veteran Brent Harvey sparked the Roos to a 10-goal-to-five second half that secured a 16.11 (107) to 14.13 (97) win.
Seven of those second-half goals game in the third term when the Roos' midfield led by Jack Ziebell and Ben Cunnington suddenly seized control.
Even though the tide had unmistakeably turned, the Crows did not throw in the towel and it was not until Todd Goldstein goaled at the three-minute mark of the final term that the Roos regained the lead for the first time since the 11-minute mark of the first term.
Adelaide then wrested the lead back six minutes later after Eddie Betts goaled and Taylor Walker kicked a behind.
And it was not until the Roos managed consecutive goals via Drew Petrie and Taylor Garner – the latter at the 23-minute mark putting the Roos 11 points up – that they looked safe.
Ziebell (26 disposals and seven clearances) and Ben Cunnington (27 and 10) were instrumental in the Roos' comeback win with their bullocking work at centre bounces and stoppages.
Robbie Tarrant did an outstanding job on Taylor Walker, holding the Adelaide captain to two goals, while giving North plenty of counter-attack with 24 possessions of his own.
Goldstein waged an entertaining ruck duel with Crows counterpart Sam Jacobs, with the Roo emerging with a 'points' win in his 150th game, helping his team to hang on with some telling marks in the final quarter.
Jarrad Waite also kicked three goals for the Roos, while Daniel Wells made an encouraging senior return in his first AFL game since round two last season.
North coach Brad Scott praised his team's ability to withstand the Crows' dominant opening to the game.
"They outplayed us for periods and then we responded for periods as well," Scott said.
"I think it was a mature win, and a win full of character because we were challenged for large parts of the game but we found a way to hang in there and prevail in the end."
In Don Pyke's first match as coach, the Crows' midfield showed that Patrick Dangerfield's departure to Geelong won't be the end of the world.
With veteran Scott Thompson (nine clearances) and Matt Crouch (10) doing the heavy lifting at stoppages, the Crows runners ran the Roos ragged for much of the first half, moving the ball more quickly and more cleanly than the home side.
Pyke said after the match that his team had controlled the game for periods but had not taken their opportunities.
"We sort of lost a bit of control in the contest (in the third quarter) and from there they were able to start getting the ball in their half and then they got a bit of a run on for a little period of time there," Pyke said.
"But to our guys' credit they kept coming back. I thought towards the end of the third quarter we got back a bit of control of the game.
"It was just disappointing on the night."
Josh Jenkins starred for the Crows with five goals and threatened to take the game away from North in the opening two and a half quarters, when he was simply too big and strong for North opponent Michael Firrito.
Rory Laird and Brodie Smith (both 24 possessions) also gave the Crows plenty of drive, while Brad Crouch (20) showed good signs in his first senior game since round 23, 2014.
After a relatively even first term, the Crows took control of the game in the second term.
With their midfield on top at the centre clearances, the Crows moved the ball quickly to their runners in open space, who gave their forwards pinpoint delivery and several times found free men over the back of North's defence with long kicks.
The Roos, in comparison, were far more stagnant and were heavily reliant on tall forwards Waite and Drew Petrie marking their often hurried and high entries.
Adelaide piled on six goals to three for the term to go into half-time with a handy 18-point lead.
North Melbourne: Former Hawk Jed Anderson left the ground with a hamstring injury in the second quarter and did not return to the game. "It's a really tough one because the medical staff wanted more time to try and get him right, but he definitely felt something high up in his hamstring," North coach Brad Scott said after the game. "They think it's pretty minor, but I'm loathe speculate at this point until we get a scan and confirm it." Lindsay Thomas (upper body) and Drew Petrie (knee) copped heavy knocks in the second quarter but played out the game.
Adelaide: The Crows emerged with a clean bill of health.
North plays the Brisbane Lions on Saturday at the Gabba, where it has won just two of its past 12 matches. Adelaide will take on Port Adelaide in the early Saturday game at Adelaide Oval, with the Crows trailing the Power 18-21 in the Showdown count.
NORTH MELBOURNE 2.3 6.6 13.7 16.11 (107)
ADELAIDE 3.5 9.6 13.8 14.13 (97)
North Melbourne: Waite 3, Harvey 3, Brown 2, Garner 2, Petrie 2, Goldstein, Higgins, Dal Santo, Thomas
Adelaide: Jenkins 5, Walker 2, Betts, M.Crouch, Douglas, Jacobs, Lynch, Mackay, Seedsman
North Melbourne: Cunnington, Goldstein, Tarrant, Ziebell, Waite, Dal Santo, Harvey
Adelaide: Jenkins, Thompson, Laird, Smith, M.Crouch, Walker
North Melbourne: Thomas (shoulder), Anderson (hamstring)
Reports: Matt Crouch (Adelaide) reported for rough conduct against Jarrad Waite in the third quarter
Umpires: Foot, Farmer, Rosebury
Official crowd: 25,485 at Etihad Stadium