AFL Round 10 – Port Adelaide v Hawthorn: Port win the battle


Port Adelaide won on Saturday night. Or did they? Mmmm. Good question Rick. To all appearances, yes they did. And the win certainly ignited the passion of the mob, I mean fans.


Port and their followers have every reason to be in a celebratory mood. In recent weeks they have beaten three of four teams that played last year’s Preliminary Finals. Looking ahead, they only have 5 games that stand out as real contests. They can pencil in 16 wins (at least) for the season and that should see them in the Top 4 come Finals. So, yes, they have easily more than three reasons to be cheerful.


Even considering their good form, that they are beating tops sides and the future’s looking bright enough to wear shades I was still a little nonplussed at just how fanatical was the celebrations in the stands, both during the game and upon its conclusion. I was hoping Channel 7 cameras would track slow enough across the crowd so I might see at least one fan, seated, looking happy but with a modicum of uncertainty. Circumspect.


Port Adelaide barely won the game. Fourteen points. What’s that?


At one point in the Third they were thirty points up and had control of the match. Pretty much everybody watching would have been wondering whether they were going to win by 15 goals. Certainly the blow-out looked like it would go beyond 50 points.


Port players looked fresher. My eyes could barely keep up with their running play. They move the ball as quickly as the best sides. Hawthorn was struggling, maybe slowing. They had six of their best sidelined for this game and it was showing. On top of that, McEvoy, our new, “you beaut” ruck, recruited from The Saints had been subbed off.


This was the moment Port should have seized. In more primal terms, they had the Hawks seemingly on the ropes. It was time to go in for the kill. In the next 7 minutes the Hawks kicked 4 goals and reduced the margin to 7 points at three quarter time.


A few minutes into the last spelled the difference between the teams, at least on Saturday night. The Hawks had two set shots (albeit, tough shots) on goal for a return of two out of bounds on the full. They weren’t spent but fatigue was setting in. Within a couple of minutes Hartlett had answered for Port with two goals in a row.


The teams battled on in what was a thrilling and entertaining spectacle of skill and intensity. It was Port’s win but the Hawks, especially the younger players and the so called second string players can hold their heads high. The Hawks weren’t 6 (first string) players short of beating Port. One addition would have made the difference. Roughy.


For all the hoopla about Port’s youth, fast running game and so on the ageing Hawks held up very well. Hawthorn had more Inside 50s for the match. Yes, the Hawks were getting their hands on the ball (welcome back Sewell) and using it.


What they were missing was the definitive target up forward. Gunston and Breust both did admirable jobs (again). Would a bigger body forward like Roughy roaming the 50 metre area have had an impact? I think so.


Port Adelaide is good and will continue to improve, for sure. And the answer to the question I posed to start this piece? Yes, Port won, but not by enough or convincingly enough for me, at least, to form the opinion that they are a looming danger side of 2014.


Our votes: Boak (PA) 3, Lewis (H) 2, Ebert (PA) 1.


  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Rick on paper while this seems like a win for the hawks , both teams can improve significantly and I hate to say it Port are a genuine chance , Schultz and Westoff can play far better and there genuine pace worries every side

  2. Very fair summary Rick. Entertaining game to watch as a neutral,
    Clarkson is the smartest strategic coach in the comp. Even when Port were on top early, the Hawks stuck to their system and process.
    Very impressive. Top 5 or 6 teams shapes up for a ripper finals series, and your Hawks are first among equals.

  3. Rick Kane says

    Thanks Rulebook and PB

    You know Rulebook, I expected more from PA. Home ground and crowd advantage, playing like mid season Premiers etc. As fast as they are (at times) I think there’s a couple of teams that play the game a lot smarter. I like them and over the next couple of years they’ll be well and truly in the hunt but I don’t think this is the year.

    PB, the Hawks main concern is whether they can get their best team out on the paddock. And how those ageing players will travel over the next few months. When they’re on song, they are one rockin concert!


  4. As a neutral I enjoyed what I saw. Difficult to imagine Port improving, and your Hawks are missing some key troops. However, it’s good to see Port freshening up the top four. If both sides meet in the finals, it could be a cracker.

  5. Dan Hansen says

    It is a fair point. But I never really was worried during the game. It felt a bit like our game against GWS. We were never really dominant but were never really threatened, even after your four quick goals in the second. Due to the return of your missing six Hawthorn have more upside than us. However I’m pleased with how we’re playing but I’m not about to count chickens yet.

  6. Todd Allison says

    What the last two weeks for the Hawks have show me is, if the Hawks get their full list on the park fighting fit and in form only Geelong (because of their match ups) can stop them from going back to back.

    If Port was missing Boak, Hartlett, Carlisle, Wingard, Grey and Schulz (similar outs to Hawthorns on the weekend) and lost Lobbe in the first half, the Hawks would’ve won by 15 goals (and that’s with the team they put out on the weekend, not their full strength team).

  7. Rick Kane says

    Well said Todd, couldn’t agree more (from a totally reliable, unbiased, almost neutral football fan … who just happens to bleed brown and gold).


  8. Rick Kane says

    Just back from a Hawks Players/Sponsors night at the G. Great time all round (except for the Clarko news … trust the diagnosis of his disorder, Guillain-Barrè syndrome, is mild and he recovers with full health).

    Asked Luke Breust what it was like playing at Adelaide Oval. He said the most noticeable thing was how loud it was. Bloody loud he said. The noise of 50,000 people there he reckoned was the equivalent of over 80,000 people at the G. Except, and he grinned, it’s 80,000 supporting one team.


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