Port Adelaide overcame a tough and resilient GWS Giants outfit by 17 points this afternoon at Metricon Stadium to stay top of the AFL ladder after six rounds.
Port started the better of the two sides, dominating territory and leading the inside 50s four to zero in the opening stages, which led to ex-skipper Travis Boak slotting home the game’s first goal.
Much of the opening term was difficult to watch. Both sides’ pressure on the ball was immense as both teams struggled to get a foothold in the game with poor skills being a feature.
Port Adelaide took a seven-point lead into the opening change with Dan Houston leading the way with ten touches, while Jacob Hopper led for the Giants with nine.
The Giants gained some momentum in the second term as Port’s poor ball use was once again on show. GWS managed to get into the game but Port held them at arm’s reach as Kane Farrell and Sam Powell-Pepper gathered touches in important areas as Port went into halftime leading by three points.
The third quarter belonged to the Giants. They controlled every aspect of the game and Port could not deal with it.
Inaccurate kicking cost them dearly as they booted 2.4 to Port’s 1.2 with the Power’s goal coming on the three-quarter time siren. The Giants were extremely unlucky to be trailing going into the last term.
Port Adelaide were seriously challenged but boy did they step up to it. After being on the back foot for the entire third quarter, they came out a different beast in the last.
Port kicked 3.3 to the Giants’ 2.1 as they got the game on their terms and swamped GWS. Sam Powell-Pepper had his best game for Port as he gathered 22 touches and an important goal in the last quarter, along with Kane Farrell, who also had his best game for the club.
The classy forward amassed 19 disposals and 1.2 in an impressive display. With just two minutes left in the last term Port led the inside 50s 15 to four as they finished the game in impressive style.
There were a few negatives for Ken Hinkley’s men, most notably the hamstring injury to Cam Sutcliffe, who finally got his chance at senior level again only to have it cut short. Port’s ball used was horrendous for much of the game as poor skill execution hurt them numerous times, as well as their entries into the forward 50.
Poor Charlie Dixon had to battle against Phil Davis and sometimes one or two more defenders as the ball came in. Port’s forwards regularly ran into each other’s space and caused confusion for the ball carrier, which made it easy for the Giants defenders to rebound out of defensive 50.
For the Giants, this will hurt, they were in the game for three quarters and got blown away in the last quarter. Lachie Whitfield led the Giants with 25 disposals and a goal along with youngster Harry Perryman, who gathered 24 while Jeremy Cameron was the only multiple goal kicker finishing with 2.1 from 15 touches.
Sam Powell-Pepper and Dan Houston led the way for Port both with 22 touches, while there were nine individual goal kickers in the win – something that is rarely seen nowadays. For Port, they stay top of the ladder, a game and percentage clear of Geelong in second and move to 5-1 after six rounds.
Meanwhile, the Giants drop out of the top eight and slide down to ninth, and it doesn’t get any easier for them as they take on Brisbane next week while Port tackle Carlton on Sunday.
Ken Hinkley will be happy with the four points but there is clearly work to be done. Poor skill execution and horrendous entries inside 50 will lead the game review on Monday.
But one thing is for sure, they corrected the wrongs of last week and got back on the winners list to comfortably sit on top of the AFL ladder.