THERE might be an AFLW answer to Lazarus.
Young Demon Eden Zanker's afternoon – and possibly her season – looked over as her lower left arm flopped grotesquely on her journey to the bench during the first half of Melbourne's two-point win over North Melbourne.
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Moments earlier, Melbourne's 2018 top-10 draft pick provided a highlight-reel moment when she audaciously stiff-armed Kangaroos gun Emma Kearney.
Zanker was somehow back on the ground only minutes later – it was later described as a "stinger" – and was almost immediately involved in the Demons' second goal, which gave them a one-point half-time edge.
Even better was to come.
North Melbourne struggled to take full advantage of Casey Fields' infamous cross-wind but still went to three-quarter time with a five-point lead thanks to Ash Riddell's sterling efforts.
Only five goals were scored to that stage but they were all to the end Melbourne was heading.
In fact, Tegan Cunningham's set-shot behind in the third term was the sole point registered at the opposite end.
There was almost certainly going to be one moment that decided what was a tense contest all afternoon – and it arrived five minutes into the last quarter.
Kate Hore, a star all day for the Demons, attacked the Sherrin with vigour in the middle, enough to spill the ball to teammate Ainslie Kemp.
The rest of the passage happened in fast-forward as Kemp spotted Zanker surging a mile ahead of the play and managed to find her with a neat pass.
Zanker made no mistake, bolting to the top of the goalsquare and giving Melbourne the lead for good.
The Roos, one of the competition's flag fancies, had what proved one last chance but the Demons' defence, led superbly by Libby Birch all day, hung on stoutly.
Melbourne's two-point triumph capped champion midfielder Daisy Pearce's return to football after giving birth to twins, 694 days after her last on-field appearance.
Is 50m too harsh a penalty?
It was a tough day to move the ball forward accurately, because of Casey Fields' infamous windy conditions. With that in mind, North Melbourne was the beneficiary of three 50m penalties in two sequences in the opening term. The first came after a brilliantly weighted Jasmine Garner kick found Daisy Bateman, who was taken to the goal mouth for a simple shot. Then there was a double 50m penalty that propelled Tahlia Randall inside 50. Regardless of if they were there, given AFLW players are not kicking the ball as far as their AFL peers, should the game's biggest penalty be shorter?
Zanker's miraculous recovery
Demon Eden Zanker packed an incredible amount into the final five minutes of the first half. First, there was her don't argue on 2018 League medallist Emma Kearney, followed by her suffering what appeared to be a game-ending – or even season-ending – arm injury in a tackle. Zanker's lower left arm looked floppy as she jogged from the ground but she was back on the field within minutes. A Tegan Cunningham tackle deep in attack presented Zanker with another opportunity, as she swooped on the loose Sherrin and dribbled it towards the goal line, where Kate Hore gleefully slotted her second major. Then came her match-winning goal in the final term. Not bad for a 20-year-old.
Did she mean it?
North Melbourne's go-ahead goal in the third term took 10 minutes to arrive and came via Ash Riddell's left boot. Riddell raised her level in the quarter, including winning the opening clearance, and her snap at goal took a vicious turn in the right direction courtesy of the wind. We'll give the Kangaroos star the benefit of the doubt but her coach, Scott Gowans, wasn't so sure post-game.
Injury blow sours day further
Kangaroo Daria Bannister's day ended early because of an AC joint injury but the severity is still unknown. She looked in a world of pain as she trudged off but North Melbourne will wait for the result of scans to find out the extent of the damage. Teammate Emma King also played through a right knee problem but wasn't overly inhibited.
"From a coaching point of view, it gives the group a bit of belief and it just takes a little bit of pressure off. Obviously, we have to focus on next week now, but you're not chasing a win – that's not your focus – and it just allows you just to focus on improvement without that pressure building up, because previously when we've lost (in round one) that pressure continues to build." – Melbourne coach Mick Stinear
"It is a setback, and I've quite publicly said what our goals are this season, and I still think we're good enough. Adelaide lost their first game and went on to win the premiership last year, but you still want to win every game you can. These are the ones that define your season, too, because if you lose two or three by two, three, four points, it really mucks you up. It's just one of those things, we go down to Launceston next week, against GWS, and it's a must-win – we just have to perform." – North Melbourne coach Scott Gowans
Melbourne has a quick turnaround to face the Western Bulldogs at Whitten Oval on Friday night, while North Melbourne will seek its first win of the season against Greater Western Sydney in Launceston next Saturday.
FULL FIXTURE Every round, every game
MELBOURNE 0.0 2.2 2.3 3.4 (22)
NORTH MELBOURNE 2.1 2.1 3.2 3.2 (20)
Melbourne: Hore 2, Zanker
North Melbourne: Ashmore, Bateman, Riddell
Melbourne: Hore, Birch, Paxman, Zanker, O'Dea, Pearce
North Melbourne: Riddell, Garner, Kearney, Bruton, Randall, Hardiman
North Melbourne: Bannister (collarbone/shoulder)
North Melbourne: Nil
Crowd: 3500 at Casey Fields