A major AUL upset has seen the Adelaide Dragons notch their first ever win, overcoming defending champions Melbourne Flames.
The Dragons went winless in 2018 and lost both of their opening matches in 2019 as well, albeit showing considerable improvement and fight.
They took that improvement into this match and pushed Melbourne all the way, coming up deserving winners.
Uncharacteristic errors to Lochlan Wise and Mikhaila Dignam in the final set cost the Flames, but it was a deserved two sets to one victory for the Dragons who remain in the hunt for an unlikely grand final berth.
The Dragons’ New Zealand imports Aaron Neal and Lauchlan Robertson clicked beautifully while No.1 draft selection Di Worman was a threat all over the park for Adelaide.
And while Melbourne may be their first scalp, the Dragons have now shown they are capable of matching it with any team in the AUL.
Adelaide scores the early advantage
The early exchanges saw plenty of errors as both sides looked to settle into the match, but it was Adelaide that opened the scoring through Kiwi import Lauchlan Robertson.
The Flames responded in kind, with radar-like passing to put Dignam over for a goal.
Kelly nearly bagged his second goal of the match from a long Di Worman pass, but it sailed just inches too long.
The battle became ferocious with some heavy aerial contests for the disc and strong defence from both sides.
Phillips found players in space again, though, resulting in a Hannah Mangan goal with four minutes left to play, the Flames trailing 4-3.
Melbourne strikes back in defensive grind
The second set was tense with neither side giving any quarter in defence, meaning goals were at a premium.
Six minutes into the set the score remained 0-0 despite both sides having opportunities to reach the end zone only to be thwarted by scrambling defence.
Finally Davis broke the deadlock, crossing to give Adelaide a 1-0 lead after seven minutes of play.
It was one-way traffic from there as Wise, Dhaliwal and Mangan piled on consecutive goals for Melbourne to open up a 4-1 lead.
Kelly pegged one back for the Dragons, but Mangan answered as the Flames took control. Mandy Fung broke free to score the final goal of the set for Adelaide, but it was Melbourne who claimed the set 5-3.
Errors cruel Flames as Adelaide seize opportunity
Wise looked certain to open the scoring for Melbourne in the third set off a Phillips pass but coughed the disc up celebrating before he was certain, costing the Flames a certain goal.
Sally Yu made them pay, scoring the opening goal for Adelaide.
A tense tug-of-war ensued, with both sides trading goals until the scores were locked at 3-3 with eight minutes left to play.
Neal fired a laser pass along the sideline to put Kelly across to snatch the lead for Adelaide and then Dignam spilled what looked like a certain goal for Melbourne, giving the Dragons the advantage.
Robertson crossed for a goal with three minutes to play and Adelaide ahead 5-3 before his Kiwi compatriate Neal sealed the deal for the Dragons to win the set and the match.