Round 15 – Port Adelaide v Collingwood: Port’s week of high emotion ends with thrilling victory

Port Adelaide v Collingwood

July 10th, 2015

RD 15

Adelaide Oval, Adelaide

 

The death of former Port Adelaide assistant coach Phil Walsh a week ago hit everyone hard at Alberton, and throughout the football community. Such a sad and tragic event still seems so unfathomable. Ironically, the Adelaide Crows gain over summer has seen Port struggle in the midfield this season, but if Walsh had stayed he’d have been in Sydney last Friday morning. Alas, the what could have been discussion is pointless. A fine football person, and from all accounts human being is gone and the football world is the poorer for it.

 

Last night at Adelaide Oval, against a backdrop of sadness and despair, Port Adelaide in the first quarter flicked on the switch, and reminded people that their best is still better than anyone else in the competition. Problem this year has it’s been a rare sight to see it. Port’s most influential players had a marked impact on the first quarter, and subsequently the game. Ollie Wines, Justin Westhoff, Chad Wingard and Robbie Gray terrific all of them. Westhoff gathered his most impressive stats for a first half of football ever, Wines emotional, driven was terrific at winning the hard ball. Gray and Wingard, so dangerous up forward kept the Collingwood defence worried. At the back, Jack Hombsch – who must be in All-Australian contention – was unstoppable.

 

Port entered the contest down to its last chance to make an impression on season 2015. Collingwood, a surprise packet coming off two ‘honourable’ losses needed to win to consolidate its place in the top eight or risk the mad scramble come late August. Port’s three point margin may have slightly flattered Collingwood in the end, who were terrific in the second quarter but flat throughout the rest of the game. The frantic finish in the dying 15 minutes more about the energy-sapping weather and Port’s slight inability to put away the match earlier on with some missed goal opportunities.

 

Port’s three point win was deserved, and was the best way they could have celebrated and honoured the life of Walsh. To dig deep at the end, hold firm and stick to the basics of football would have pleased Walsh up above. Ken Hinkley, emotional and drained throughout the week was clearly relieved but could have been forgiven for having other things other than the four points on his mind last night. Port gave their all, and they came through. Losing would have seemed unjust.

 

The most fitting moment of the game last night was after the final siren, when the 45,000 supporters at the oval were united as one in grief and respect as the Adelaide Oval lights were switched off and the Birds Of Tokyo tune Lanterns was played out to the stadium. Fans’ mobile phones lit up the oval, and a classy, heartfelt goodbye from Port was had. A lovely tribute, and a fitting end to a night where Port Adelaide succeeded on the field with a good, honest style of football, and off it with a professional and a-grade display of class.

 

CHRIS MICHAELS

 

@cargoartmag

Comments

  1. Was a good game and an even better tribute to a great man.

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