Under the old McIntyre Finals system, second faced seventh in the first week, with the higher-ranked side going straight through to the preliminary final with a win. The lower side faced elimination in the case of a loss.
Heavy rain greeted both sets of players at the MCG on Saturday September 4. With a game on the ground the previous night, the centre square would quickly become cut up as the game proceeded.
Typical ‘wet-weather football' was the order of the day; the game quickly settled into a pattern of long kicking and contested marking. North had the better of the early stages but was initially unable to convert its dominance across to the scoreboard.
David King set up Brett Allison for the Kangaroos’ first, and a minute later Peter Bell snapped a great goal on his left foot.
Bell’s first major was remarkably similar to his match-winning goal against the Power earlier in the year at the same venue. On that afternoon North rallied in an enthralling game to pinch a seven-point victory, largely on the back of six goals from Kent Kingsley on debut.
At quarter time of the Qualifying Final, North led by 26 points. A 21-year-old Brent Harvey was causing havoc down forward with two goals as he found the slippery conditions very much to his liking.
Brent Harvey kicked his third in the middle stages of the second quarter as North attempted to pull away. However Port stuck around, marginally winning the term and cutting the deficit to an even four goals at half-time.
For the Power, Stuart Dew repeatedly popped up. Even though he was playing just his 39th game, the powerful left-footer was Port Adelaide's most dangerous forward.
The visiting team kicked the final goal of the second quarter and the momentum carried over into the second half. After two quick majors to start the third term, the second a miraculous snap from Jarrad Schofield, North's lead was just 12 points.
It was time for the captain to step up. Held relatively quiet to that point in time, Wayne Carey put his stamp on the game in a 12 minute stretch that sealed North's passage through to the Preliminary Final.
Carey kicked three consecutive goals after pulling down some sensational pack marks. Then to cap off his one-man run he set up Shannon Grant to extend North's lead to 37 points late in the third quarter, giving the Kangaroos what looked like an insurmountable lead.
As an added exclamation point Carey kicked an extremely tough goal from the boundary line to start the last quarter.
Down the other end Mick Martyn continued his job on Warren Tredrea, keeping him goalless for the afternoon. Tredrea had kicked 40 goals for the season coming into the final.
North played out time comfortably, cruising to a 44-point victory and knocking Port Adelaide out of the 1999 season. As it stands, it is North's only finals victory against the Power from three attempts.
Denis Pagan and his team went on to enjoy the ultimate success against Carlton in the Grand Final weeks later.
North Melbourne 5.4.34, 8.5.53, 12.8.80, 15.10.100
Port Adelaide 1.2.8, 4.5.29, 7.6.48, 8.8.56
North Melbourne: Carey 6, Harvey 3, Grant 2, Allison 1, Bell 1, Stevens 1, Welsh 1
Port Adelaide: Dew 4, French 2, James 1, Schofield 1
North Melbourne: Carey, Stevens, Bell
Port Adelaide: Dew, Burgoyne, Kingsley