Port is on a roll, 3 in a row. The teams we beat are no mugs either! Our old nemesis North Melbourne at our burial ground Etihad, the inform Hawks at Adelaide Oval and now the supposed new top 4 fancy Adelaide Crows at their home game.
So after the tough fixture Port sits tight on 3 wins and 2 losses and it can really platform its season with it’s next 4 games being
West Coast home, Brisbane away, Richmond Home, Melbourne away. Going according to form, we should be able to knock off three if not 4 of those teams, meaning we should be 7 and 2 approaching the half way mark of the season if it goes according to form.
So what happened yesterday? Port came out dominating. Lobbe in the ruck was giving the midfielders first use of the ball and our clearance work was first class. With the very early dominance not utilised the Crows snuck out to a cheeky 2 goal lead. However once we composed ourselves we were able to take advantage of our dominance. Prime midfield users, Ebert, Gray and Boak again were dominant, with fantastic cameo’s all over the ground but honourable mentions to White and Young for their first quarter brilliance.
However the second quarter created cause for concern. The Crows really were able to get on top for that whole quarter and if it wasn’t for the shocking delivery and structure inside their forward 50 they could have been in front at half time. We lacked control of the ball and couldn’t minimise their run. However after that quarter Port reasserted the influence in the game.
The third quarter was a 50 – 50 contest with Port maintaining the margin and then in the last the same players really broke away with the win. Defensively again the structures were almost perfect with the only mismatch being Tom Jonas being smashed by Eddie Betts. It’s very unlike Jonas to get such an individual smashing, however part of me feels the coaches lost that battle as a team sacrifice in ultimately winning the war. Our defenders didn’t allow the other forwards to dominate the game, making Adelaide heavily reliant on channeling their forward entries via Bett’s. Jackson Trengove before being sub played the perfect defensive role, negating many forward entries and Alipate Carlile dominated key super star forward Tex Walker.
At the other end Jay Schulz continued his strong form with another magnificent 5 goal performance. Couple with courage and skill Jay is reaping the results of his hard work. The defense of Adelaide really struggle with their lack of height, with Jay receiving fantastic cameo chop outs from Justin Westhoff and Paddy Ryder in the last quarter. In an ominous sign for the competition, the new “Chad” at Port is starting to find his form and influence again, that can only mean trouble for the competition.
On a statistical front, what was thought as an anomaly is becoming reoccurring. We lost the I50 again by a huge margin. 71 to 42. However we operated at 60% goal scoring efficiency (last week 55%) when we enter inside 50. Are we completely flooding our defensive 50 and allowing entries to create space for our forwards? I’m sure the coaches wouldn’t have been happy with the loss in clearances 47 to 34, however contested possessions were even and our run was illustrated by our uncontested possession dominance.
Am I convinced this is a solid game plan? I’ll wait and see. As long as entries are shallow with Port having excess numbers, potentially, but with teams like Sydney with super star forwards the less inside their forward 50 the better. It could be a simple clash of game plans as the more attacking game Port V North lead to a higher i50 statistic, so lets watch this space and reserve judgement as the seasons unfolds.
Tune in tonight to Craig and Rick, hear Craigs best on ground and the boys dissect the game in detail.
Ricks best Gray, Ebert, Boak, Shulz & Trengove