Brad Scott wanted his North Melbourne team to show the football world their brand against Port Adelaide after a disappointing start to the season. While they may not have lived up to his desire to the letter they did show a greater level of commitment than in their Good Friday debacle seven days earlier.
The Power proved too slick for the Kangaroos on this night to the great delight of the 36,099 strong Adelaide Oval crowd. The victory didn’t come without a fright though, with four consecutive goals seeing North close within 14 points in the last quarter.
Five Things we Learned
Not all homecomings are sweet
While Jared Polec did kick a remarkable goal upon his return to Port Adelaide for the first time since his off-season trade, he was serviceable rather than spectacular. A day after the booing controversy of Anzac Day, Polec’s every touch was greeted with hostility from the Adelaide Oval crowd.
Jasper Pittard received the same treatment in the game’s early stages but in a night to forget for the former Power backman, almost sympathetically it quickly ceased. The statisticians might also have taken pity on him too, crediting him with just three clangers at the end of his error-ridden performance.
The Kids are alright.
In 2018 Port brought in a raft of ready-made players in trade and free agency. The 2019 off-season saw a different tack with the Power investing heavily in the draft with three first-round picks. While it is a long term strategy, Connor Rozee, Zak Butters and Xavier Duursma have all begun paying dividends already.
Rozee is building a solid case for the Rising Star Award at seasons end after receiving the Round Three nomination. Duursma should join him soon on the nominee’s list, possibly even this week, after 23 touches and a goal against the Kangaroos.
Over before it even began.
While North’s fans might point to Sydney’s recovery from two years ago or their own 0-4 start in 1975 that ended with a premiership but at 1 & 5, their team’s finals hopes in 2019 are already extinguished. Like an unfortunate roll in Snakes and Ladders, after their remarkable rise last season from the lower reaches of the ladder, they appear doomed to return from when they came.
Not your ordinary big men.
Adding a premiership ruckman to a list already boasting Paddy Ryder is a special kind of coup. While Todd Goldstein would be happy with his performance against the two on twin towers on this night, Ryder and Scott Lycett slotted a pair of goals during the game you don’t usually see from Ruckmen.
Boak proves true to his word
In the pre-season, Travis Boak was vocal about his opinion that teams with dominant midfield groups would prosper in the new 6-6-6 world order. In the opening rounds of 2019, he has done his best to prove the truth in his words with an outstanding six weeks. Against the Kangaroos he collected a game-high 38-possessions and 11-clearances in a dominant display that saw him awarded the Badcoe Medal as best on ground.
AFL ROUND SIX
PORT ADELAIDE 5.2 7.7 10.9 12.16 (88)
NORTH MELBOURNE 2.3 3.3 6.6 11.6 (72)
Port Adelaide: S.Gray 4, Ebert 2, Ryder, Duursma, Westhoff, Boak, Rozee, Lycett
North Melbourne: Larkey 3, Ziebell 2, Hall 2, Zurhaar, Polec, Wood, Turner
Port Adelaide: Boak, S.Gray, Rozee, Howard, Ebert, Wines
North Melbourne: Cunnington, Anderson, Ziebell, Goldstein, Wood, Larkey
Port Adelaide: Jonas (calf tightness) replaced in selected side by Lienert
North Melbourne: Higgins (virus) replaced in selected side by Hrovat, McDonald (knee)
Umpires: Donlon, Nicholls, Gianfagna
Official crowd: 36,099 at Adelaide Oval