THE WESTERN Bulldogs have survived an almighty challenge from Port Adelaide, holding their nerve to finish three-point victors in what was a classic, see-sawing battle at Adelaide Oval.

Aaron Young took a diving mark deep in the Power's pocket and snapped truly to reduce the margin to three points with 17 seconds on the clock, but the siren beat the home side with the Dogs holding on for the 15.10 (100) to 14.13 (97) victory.

WATCH: The thrilling final two minutes

A brilliant three-goal burst by the Dogs to start the final term meant the Power were forced onto the back foot and, while they attacked relentlessly, the Bulldogs had the answers.

Marcus Bontempelli was again brilliant with 30 disposals and two goals – including the sealer – while Mitch Wallis (27 disposals, six inside 50s) and Matthew Boyd (27, seven rebound 50s) were also important. 

Jack Redpath booted four goals including a crucial major from a strong contested mark in the frenetic final term.

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Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge described it as one of the best wins he has been involved in as coach.

"It's up there with the best of them," he said.

"It was a great game. Both teams going hard at each other, going hard at the footy and, I don't know how many lead changes there were but it was a day of persistence.

"They were really brave our guys and so were the Port Adelaide players."

Robbie Gray finished with 32 possessions and a goal for Port, Ollie Wines (26, seven tackles) was great on the inside and Jasper Pittard (27 possessions, eight rebound 50s) continued his terrific year.

The Bulldogs sprung into action early, registering 15 touches and a goal before the Power had a disposal.

Full match coverage and stats

Just as the Bulldogs' combination of midfield control and ruthless efficiency in attack spelt early warning signs, the Power lifted.

The home side's ferocity at the contest was intense and with Bulldog midfielder Luke Dahlhaus failing to return to the field after quarter-time with a knee injury, the Power began to own possession through the second term.

They managed 10 of the first 11 inside 50s in the second quarter, yet their failure to convert that dominance into scoreboard pressure left the door open for the Dogs and they stole the lead late in the quarter with Troy Dickson's second goal.

Refreshed from the main break, both sides continued the game's unrelenting intensity and traded blows. A classy finish from the boundary line by Tom Liberatore wrested the lead back for the Bulldogs before back-to-back clutch snaps from Chad Winged did the same for Port.

But it was the Power who finished the term the strongest with eight of the last nine inside 50s – the eighth resulting in an after-the-siren goal to Dougal Howard.

Five talking points: Port Adelaide v Western Bulldogs

Staring down the barrel of what had appeared an unlikely defeat, the Bulldogs barked.

Kept quiet for most of the day, Jake Stringer snapped the final term's first goal and after Mitch Honeychurch added another, Stringer again pounced, this time bombing his third goal home from inside the centre square.

Redpath's fourth for the day seemed to give the Dogs the breathing space they needed – only for Ebert to mark heroically at the other end and keep his side in it.

Then it was Bontempelli's turn. The budding superstar took a strong diving mark and converted to give his side the buffer it needed to handle Young's last-ditch effort.

Port coach Ken Hinkley was proud of his players' intensity, but left frustrated after watching his side fall short.

"Proud of the effort, proud of the performance, really disappointed we lost - don't like losing, simple," Hinkley said.

"Stoppage score, in the end, was the difference in the game.

"They took their opportunities, in the end you're separated by three points."

Port Adelaide: The Power finished the game with no new injuries - which is just as well considering they can't afford any more. Both Jack Hombsch and Jay Schulz are nearing returns from hamstring and back injuries.

Western Bulldogs: Star midfielder Luke Dahlhaus injured the medial ligament in his left knee in the opening term and will miss a number of games. The club is confident it's not a long-term injury, but he'll require scans to determine just how severe it is.

Port heads to Perth next weekend to take on Fremantle - a huge clash in terms of the club's finals chances. The Bulldogs host Geelong, which looms as yet another massive test before their round 14 bye.

PORT ADELAIDE         4.3   6.7  11.9   14.13 (97) 
WESTERN BULLDOGS      6.1   7.3  10.6   15.10 (100)                       


Port Adelaide:
Wingard, Dixon, Neade, Young 2, Impey, Howard, Wines, Gray, Boak, Ebert
Western Bulldogs: Redpath 4, Stringer 3, Dickson, Bontempelli 2, Liberatore, Honeychurch, Dahlhaus, Biggs


Port Adelaide: 
R.Gray, Wines, Pittard, Polec, Neade, Young
Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli, Honeychurch, Daniel, Macrae, Boyd, Morris


Port Adelaide:
Western Bulldogs: Dahlhaus (knee) 

Reports: Nil 

Umpires: Meredith, Fisher, Pannell  

Official crowd: 40,096