North Melbourne's remarkable 24-point victory against Essendon on Sunday evening appears to have come at a heavy price with serious doubts hanging over the ability of key midfielders Daniel Wells and Leigh Adams to play again this year.
Wells (calf) and Adams (dislocated shoulder) didn't return to the field of play after quarter-time and despite giving the Bombers a one-man advantage for most of the match, the Kangaroos still managed to record one of the best wins in the club's recent history, according to coach Brad Scott.
The gutsy triumph ensured North Melbourne moved up to sixth position with a 12-7 win-loss record and had one foot in the finals with three games left in the season - one of which is against easy beats Greater Western Sydney.
But with Wells set to be treated with kid gloves and Adams sustaining the 'most serious' of a series of recent shoulder injuries, the Kangaroos may have to go about securing a finals berth without the star pair.
"Adams looks like the most serious so he's alternated his shoulder again, it's the other one he hurt a while back so that looks pretty significant this time," Scott said post-match.
"It's not just a little subluxation, it looks a bit more significant than that.
"Wells has got what looks like a calf injury at the moment... with a player like him who's so explosive as he is, even a minor calf (injury) you've got to be really careful with."
Defender Nathan Grima, who did a good job on Essendon forward Stewart Crameri, could also be in doubt for next week's clash against Collingwood with a possible bout of hamstring tendonitis.
But in better news for North, who are set to regain suspended duo Jack Ziebell and Lindsay Thomas, three-goal forward Lachie Hansen appeared to be fine after copping a heavy head knock from Nathan Lovett-Murray in an action-packed first term.
Given the stresses the Kangaroos found themselves under throughout the bruising encounter with Essendon, it's little wonder that Scott was chuffed with the result and said it was a victory the club could look back on when they found themselves in tough situations in the future.
"It's certainly one of the best wins I've been involved in at North Melbourne and it just reaffirms our confidence in the players that we've recruited to the club, reaffirms our confidence in the leaders that we've got," Scott said.
"(It was) just an outstanding effort under an enormous amount of duress.
"The boys stood up so that's a fantastic base to build on, for a playing group when you get through games like that that holds you in good stead for the future.
"When you're really under the pump in the future you can draw back on those types of wins so it's a huge step forward for the playing group."
Scott praised his midfielders for stepping up in the absence of Adams and Wells.
Sam Wright (32 disposals, one goal), Liam Anthony (27 - 11 contested and six tackles), Sam Gibson (26, two goals), Brent Harvey (21, three goals), Ben Cunnington (22 - 12 and nine clearances) and Cruize Garlett (21 - 11, eight clearances and two goals) all played key roles in the win.
"There's some real depth there through the midfield which we didn't have a couple of years ago," Scott said.
"It's a credit to our development team."
Harvey's three goals came in a spectacular three-minute burst early in the third term when the game was in the balance after North were four points down and Scott said the veteran Kangaroo 'never ceases to amaze'.
Despite the adversity North was confronted with, Harvey wasn't surprised by the end result given he rates his team as 'super fit'.
The 34-year-old champ also downplayed the significance of being down one rotation for such a long time."If I had it my way you wouldn't come off (the ground) anyway, (you'd) rest forward and play in the midfield," Harvey said.