Round 10 – Port Adelaide v Western Bulldogs: Port’s Season Revival Continues as their Back Six Lay the Foundation For Future Success

Port Adelaide v Western Bulldogs

June 6th, 2015

RD 10

Adelaide Oval, Adelaide


The Western Bulldogs in 2015 are certainly a gallant bunch. Tonight at Adelaide Oval against a better credentialed opponent the Bulldogs more than matched the Power for intensity at the ball and body. And what a slog it was for almost three quarters. That the floodgates finally opened in the last quarter wasn’t such a surprise – Port always looked more capable of scoring more fluently and more often. But for large chunks leading up to the goal barrage in the last 20 minutes the umpires seem to have the majority of possessions.


Port’s dangerous midfield group of Wines, Boak, Gray, Ebert and Broadbent were terrific, and with Wingard popping up all over the ground Port had the edge. In ruck Lobbe battled for most of the night manfully against a resurgent Will Minson. And in defence, Port have assembled a young but vibrant, risk-taking and athletic group that continues to impress. They aren’t huge names outside of South Australia, or even Alberton, but the likes of Hombsch, Pittard, Clurry, Carlisle and Jonas continue to restrict opposition teams, and play a high accountability brand of football. They work well together, feed off each other nicely and have no shortage of skill.


I questioned Port’s fitness (among other things) a few weeks ago. Their inability to run over the top of sides was becoming a grave concern. But, in the last two weeks at least (and two weeks never make a season) that fast finishing, out-running of the opposition has returned. Tonight Port not only held up and stifled any Bulldogs attack from the 15 minute mark of the third quarter onwards, but they found a decisive way to score themselves. Wingard was at the heart of it, creating, bullocking and skilfully administering swift cheeky handballs, one that set Ebert up for the game breaking goal. Thereafter a flood occurred, Port working handsomely as a team to set up goals to put the game out of reach. The Bulldogs, scoreless for over 40 minutes finally hit the goals, but not before Port had piled on five.


It was a brave, solid hit out for both teams, neither shirking the hard balls. But Port’s class in the end paid off. The Bulldogs will take much from the game, and they have come a long way under new coach Luke Beveridge. Their destiny for 2015 is still to be decided, but its years to come that may see the true revival of a sporting club that has not tasted the ultimate success since 1954.


Port has now won two games back to back, and found something within their midfield that was lacking. A coherent, more giving game-plan perhaps. They have quality all over the park, but had barely gelled as a unit so far this year apart from fleetingly. Two wins, granted against modest opposition, isn’t the stuff of hat hanging just yet. A bigger challenge awaits next Friday night against a side Port has historically struggled against (to be fair which team hasn’t) in recent years. But last years’ dismantling, and Geelong’s fading from brilliance over the last two seasons will mean Port will go in as favourites. And if that midfield gelling continues to harden, Port will win three in a row and push back into the top eight for the first time in a while.





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