Round 6 – North Melbourne v Port Adelaide: Port’s persist against the odd for stirring victory

North Melbourne v Port Adelaide

2:10PM, April 28

Etihad Stadium, Melbourne

 

 

 

Port’s road to redemption on and off the field began in earnest on Saturday afternoon in Melbourne against a North Melbourne side in-form after a character building win over Hawthorn last weekend. Port have had a wretched few weeks, first with a worrying form dive and then the Powell-Pepper saga, which was slow to be resolved and when it was Port weren’t happy. But they copped it on the chin regardless – mostly to respect the process, but also to finally move on. When Hamish Hartlett when down at training with an ACL injury things were close to rock bottom. But on Saturday Port dug deep into their bag of tricks and played a brand of football that has them back in the top 8 and more importantly on the winners list.

 

Port, without Hartlett now for the season and still without Paddy Ryder were cleaner, harder at the ball and worked harder through the centre to create opportunities for Jake Neade, Charlie Dixon, Sam Gray (the most underrated player in the AFL) and Jack Watts to take advantage of. Port increased their work rate and the results came.

 

A lesson in persistence as much as skill and endeavour, Port defied the recent weight of issues and the sad loss of team mate Todd Marshall’s father to cancer to put it all on the line when it mattered. Lose on Saturday and Port were in danger of slipping back into the pack of also-rans. They’ve now avoided that painful outcome and garnered further respect. Few clubs could have handed the SPP situation much better, especially considering he was basically labelled something he wasn’t. This was a win that showed great character, and again Travis Boak and Ollie Wines led the way on the field; the two most underrated leaders in the competition.

 

Port weren’t flashy, and there is much room for improvement, but on Saturday Port proved they were just as capable of digging deep when needed as they are producing match-winning bursts of fantastic footy. It was pleasing to see and honoured the memory of Marshall senior as well as anything.

 

Twitter – @chrismwriter

 

NORTH MELBOURNE    2.1     4.5      6.7       10.9        (69)
PORT ADELAIDE              4.5     8.6     12.8     15.12     (102)

GOALS
North Melbourne: Brown 4, Waite 3, Anderson, Simpkin, Davies-Uniacke
Port Adelaide: S.Gray 4, Wingard 2, Westhoff, Houston, Neade, Johnson, Watts, Polec, R.Gray, Neade, Dixon

BEST
North Melbourne: Cunnington, Anderson, Daw, Simpkin, Clarke, Jacobs
Port Adelaide: Polec, S.Gray, Ebert, Jonas, Westhoff, Dixon

Crowd: 17,617

 

 

 

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