Round 1 – North Melbourne v Port Adelaide: From a central Queensland lounge-room

 

 

 

by Nick Kossatch

 

It’s been a round of massive upsets in Round 1 of the 2021 AFL season.

 

The Crows pulled Geelong Cats’ pants down.

 

And the ‘Roos were up and about in the first quarter to lead by seven points.

 

It has been as humid as you could imagine in Gladstone, Central Queensland and in my loungeroom, things were as hot as North’s intensity at the coalface.

 

But the power of the Power was in full cruise control mode after the Kangas’ initial testing of Port with an 8-1 goal second quarter and pretty much game over as Port Adelaide led by 40 points at half time.

 

Back to my adopted home town of Gladstone, if I was to wear Port Adelaide colours in this industrial city, there would be the strangest of sideways looks in my direction.

 

Who is this Port Adelaide? Who are The Power?

 

Apart from a core few 100 who are involved with Gladstone and nearby Boyne Island-Tannum Sands’ AFL teams Gladstone Suns and BITS Saints, I do not bother in engaging in AFL conversations with people.

 

AFL is Chinese to them.

 

AFL is an outlet for me and Port Adelaide is my religious belief!

 

Despite North Melbourne’s pluckiness in the second half, Port cruised in a professional manner that of a premiership contender to win 17.15 (117) to 9.11 (65).

 

Orazio Fantasia thrived with silver service delivery with four goals while Charlie Dixon, despite the superb defensive checking by Ben McKay, helped himself to two second-quarter goals.

 

Young Power key position forward Todd Marshall was solid with two majors.

 

North’s Luke Davies-Uniacke delivered his class in spades to keep his team in it as did Collingwood recruit Jaidyn Stephenson.

 

However soon-to-be Port Adelaide Hall of Famer Travis Boak put on a masterclass performance willing himself to contest after contest topped with two goals.

 

Zak Butters. What more does one have to say about this kid.

 

Richmond’s Shane ‘Titch’ Edwards is the best decision-maker in the AFL, but Butters is closing in fast.

 

The Power midfielder is already a young superstar.

 

Karl Amon and Steven Motlop controlled the wings as linkmen and big Aliir Aliir was a roadblock at centre half back with intercept marks.

 

Yes the building Kangaroos had the likes of Robbie Tarrant, Ben Cunnington and Jed Anderson on the sidelines and Luke McDonald a late withdrawal, but the Power too had stars in Hamish Hartlett, Connor Rozee and last year’s relevation Trent McKenzie absent.

 

“It’s always a challenge and you’re never quite sure because the weekend has been strange to read,” Port coach Ken Hinkley said.

 

“We’re just really pleased to come and travel and get the points.

 

Hinkley stressed that Round 1 games are tricky and he made sure his team was as best prepared as possible.

 

“We had a slow start and credit to North Melbourne…we were probably a bit lucky to be a point or two down but our next two quarters were strong,” he said.

 

“We were be able to adjust and the boys identified that and when I spoke to them at quarter time, they knew what they were most concerned with.”

 

Hinkley admitted that, as expected, fatigue set in during the final quarter.

 

 

NORTH MELBOURNE    2.4       3.6      5.8     9.11 (65)
PORT ADELAIDE          2.2       10.4     14.8   17.15 (117)

 

GOALS
North Melbourne: Scott 2, Thomas 2, Goldstein, Davies-Uniacke, Powell, Walker, Mahony
Port Adelaide: Fantasia 4, Boak 2, Dixon 2, Butters 2, Marshall 2, Amon, Bonner, Lycett, Motlop, Duursma

 

BEST
North Melbourne: Stephenson, Simpkin, Davies-Uniacke, Thomas, Young, McKay
Port Adelaide: Boak, Fantasia, Wines, Gray, Drew, Aliir

 

INJURIES
North Melbourne: Luke McDonald (quad) replaced by Connor Menadue, Corr (toe), Taylor (head)
Port Adelaide: Bonner (hamstring)

 

REPORTS
North Melbourne: Turner (reported for rough conduct on Duursma)
Port Adelaide: Nil

 

SUBSTITUTES
North Melbourne: Lazzaro (replaced Corr)
Port Adelaide: Rockliff (replaced Bonner)

 

Crowd: TBC at Marvel Stadium

 

Read more Round 1 writing HERE.

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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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