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.

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 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. 

MELBOURNE                  0.0       2.2       2.3       3.4 (22)

NORTH MELBOURNE  2.1       2.1       3.2       3.2 (20)


Melbourne: Hore 2

North Melbourne: Ashmore, Bateman, Riddell


Melbourne: Hore, Birch, Paxman, Zanker, O'Dea, Pearce

North Melbourne: Riddell, Garner, Kearney, Bruton, Randall, Hardiman


Melbourne: Nil 

North Melbourne: Bannister (collarbone/shoulder)


Melbourne: Nil

North Melbourne: Nil

Reports: Nil

Crowd: 3500 at Casey Fields