AFL Round 9: Port blown away

by Nick Kossatch

With the Western Bulldogs just failing against unbeaten Geelong – Port’s match against the contested-ball kings, Sydney, was a chance for the club to gain respect from afar as well as outright third on the AFL premiership ladder.

It was time for the Power to show their mettle, away from the safe confines of AAMI Stadium, to mix it against Brett Kirk, Jude Bolton and most-improved Jarrod McVeigh of the Swans.

Within ten minutes into the first quarter the game was ‘shot’.

Sydney had five goals to Port’s zilch.

The visitor’s were powerless to stop the Swan’s centre clearance onslaught as McVeigh, Bolton and Kirk feasted off ruckman Darren Jolly’s taps.

Unsung Kieran Jack and experienced Amon Buchanan were others to torment Port’s ‘soft-as-butter’ midfield resistance. Or lack of it.

Big bad Barry Hall was a menace for the Power’s Alipate Carlile and it took till late in the first term for them to register their first major to 18-year-old young gun Hamish Hartlett.

Sydney had eight six-pointers and Port were 43-points in arrears at quarter time.

Their coach Mark Williams lambasted his charges at the first break and Warren Tredrea converted from 50 at the start of the second prompting Williams to think to not think to tank season 2009!

Some Daniel Motlop magic via a ‘Capper-esque’ mark and major was the only other goal for the Power as they faced an eight-and-a-half-goal deficit at half time.

The visitor’s inept first half left its supporters delusional but applauding the efforts of Hartlett across half back and fellow youngsters Travis Boak and Robbie Gray in the midfield.

Gray, dubbed by many, as the next Gary Ablett Jnr laced out a pass to Tredrea to start the third term.

It was from a centre clearance!

In fact Gray had several of them in the second half which will send a message to Port’s coaching staff and that is to start the number 17 in the centre square in future matches.

Kirk has it, and in bucket loads. That is the ability to win the ball in the centre square congestion and get the pill out to an anticipating forward.

There was false hope when the margin was shaved to 36 points and Sydney’s ‘other’ ruckman Jesse White took a superb mark some 20 metres from goal to kill off these hopes.

He is a player of great promise and his agility troubled Port’s ruckmen Dean Brogan and Brendan Lade.

White and Jolly booted two goals each to smash the Power’s ruck tandem of Brogan and Lade.

The last quarter was the Power’s most fruitful and, quite bluntly, what is the point of doing you’re best work when the damage was already done?

Danyle Pearce, Peter Burgoyne, Brett Ebert (two last-quarter majors), Troy Chaplin, Michael Pettigrew and Daniel Motlop offered little during when the game was at its fiercest.

That was when the Power needed these talented, yet mentally soft players, most.

Defenders Pettigrew and Chaplin were ‘guessing’ as to where their opponents were whilst the ball was in the air.

They were ‘feeling’ for the body of Hall and the like.

Great defenders look at where the ball is whilst it is in the air and, if necessary, leave their direct opponent to help out a fellow defender with a spoil over the top.

Matthew Scarlett and Tom Harley and Nathan Bock all do this discipline week in, week out.

Motlop is a brilliant player.

So too is Adam Goodes but there is a huge disparity in their attitudes.

Goodes blends his flair with no-nonsense and disciplined footy.

Motlop, to the frustration of Port Adelaide’s faithful, mixes his ‘magic’ with moments of madness that leads to too many points and not goals.

Therein lies the difference between Goodes and Motlop and Sydney and Port.

Sydney Swans 8.1  11.6  13.13  18.15 (123)
Port Adelaide 1.0  3.3  6.6  10.8 (68)

Sydney Swans: McVeigh 2, Jolly 2, Hall 2, White 2, Goodes 2, Kirk 2, Buchanan, Moore, OLoughlin, Mattner, OKeefe, J Bolton
Port Adelaide: Tredrea 2, Hartlett 2, Ebert 2, D Motlop, P Burgoyne, Cassisi, Logan

Sydney Swans: McVeigh, Hall, J Bolton, Kirk, OKeefe, Jolly, Buchanan
Port Adelaide: K Cornes, Hartlett, P Burgoyne, Pearce, Cassisi

OUR VOTES: D. Jolly 3 (S); B. Kirk 2 (S); J. Bolton 1 (S)

About Nicholas Kossatch

Tall and intelligent and athletically built who calls a spade a spade. Love sports writing and sending letters and texts to the editor about AFL and the Port Adelaide Power - win, lose or draw. I do not sit on the fence. Soon to be 40! I play basketball and over 35's supers football. Have played amateur footy and a bit of cricket and basketball when living in Adelaide. Do some writing for the Murray Pioneer,

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