Are Port a contender?
“We’re on top of the ladder, we deserve to be on top of the ladder,” said Ken Hinkley after their Round Six win over GWS. While the team’s coach expressing this kind of thought is of similar value to your mum telling you that your beautiful, is it time the rest of us became believers too?
While five wins in six matches is hard to argue with on face value, there is a question over the quality of their opposition. Well in reality we are questioning the strength of their victories over West Coast and Gold Coast given both team’s form at the time of their meeting.
Maybe it’s their past failures that are leaving us overly cautious about getting onboard. One thing is for certain though, every passing victory makes it harder to defend maintaining these doubts.
How the Game Was Won
A pre-dawn flight out of Adelaide looked likely to take its toll as Port Adelaide and GWS went down to the wire on Sunday. Yet despite GWS taking the lead early in the final term, it was the Power who ran out the contest stronger to claim a memorable 17-point bounce back victory.
After being smashed in the middle last week, Port Adelaide made a big statement at the selection table by dropping Tom Rockliff and got the response they were looking for. So disappointing last week against Brisbane, the Power dominated the midfield battle to help set up the victory. Dan Houston a bull in the middle claiming 22 disposals — 11 of them contested.
With the game on the line it was Port were the team that found a path to goal that had been missing for most of the day. Sam Powell-Pepper, Kane Farrell, Todd Marshall and Zak Butters kicking four consecutive goals in the fourth term after having kicked just five prior.
It was a scintillating finish to a match that had been an epic arm wrestle all day. That they were able to do so after being required to fly-in and fly-out to take part making it all the more impressive.
What the Coaches Said
On the day he earned AFL Life Membership, Ken Hinkley believed his charges were the better team for most of the day. “We gave the ball away 20 more times than they did and I thought our efficiency going forward really hurt us,” he said. “To GWS’s credit they played a really strong third quarter and they are a great team, I think premiership favourites coming into this round, but I thought we really did control the game for large parts and we didn’t probably have that reflection on the scoreboard because we turned the ball over.
“(But overall) I was really proud of the way we played a really strong game of footy today.”
GWS coach Leon Cameron told reporters that he team “didn’t want it” enough when the game was on the line in the final quarter. “We just started to get some rhythm in the third quarter but let ourselves down in the last five minutes when we let them sneak back in front,” Cameron said. “It was disappointing … realistically scores were about level at three-quarter-time and the game was up for grabs and we didn’t want it.
“Up until three-quarter-time it was an even battle but they put the foot down and dominated us in the last 15 minutes of the game. Credit to Port, the game was up for grabs, they took it, we didn’t, and we have to go back to the drawing board. We really rate Port as a footy club, they sit on top for a reason and we’re just a rung off the top sides at the moment.”
“I thought he (Jeremy Cameron) fought the game out well, he split himself open but looked like one of our forwards who would have a stamp on the game but we only went inside 50 four or five times in the last quarter,” he said.
PORT ADELAIDE 1.2 4.4 5.6 9. 9 (63)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 0.1 2.5 4.9 6.10 (46)
Port Adelaide: Boak, Amon, Gray, Motlop, Dixon, Powell-Pepper, Farrell, Marshall, Butters
Greater Western Sydney: Cameron 2, Greene, Whitfield, Finlayson, Ash
Port Adelaide: Farrell, Boak, Hartlett, Powell-Pepper, Houston, Amon
Greater Western Sydney: Whitfield, Coniglio, Haynes, Greene, Cameron
Port Adelaide: Sutcliffe (hamstring)
Greater Western Sydney: Lloyd (delayed concussion)