A powerful second quarter, in a deluge of biblical proportions, was enough for Port Adelaide to set up a commanding lead over the Fremantle Dockers. The young Dockers challenged Port in the first quarter but were easily pushed aside during the waterlogged second term. The bigger bodied Power played hard-nosed wet weather football and the Dockers watched. The bruised Dockers steadied in the clear conditions after halftime but were unable to make inroads on the Port lead.
The Dockers began the game with plenty of pluck, matching Port in the packs in the first quarter. Two goals to Matt Taberner and singles to Travis Colyer and Brandon Matera saw the Dockers lead by a goal at the first break. As the match progressed, the undermanned Dockers
missed the bulk of injured ruckman Sean Darcy and were mauled by Scott Lycett who dominated replacement Docker ruckman, Rory Lobb, with a match high 37 hit outs and 4 clearances. Lycett gave his midfielders first touch of the footy and Ollie Wines, Travis Boak, and Tom Rockliff responded by using their muscle to give Power the edge in winning 37 clearances. Michael Walters tried hard in the middle for the Dockers, winning 7 clearances, but he lacked support on the outside; and when the rain came, Port dominated by knocking the ball forward at every opportunity.
The Power had a huge advantage in attack. The Docker defenders were undersized with the absence of injured big men Alex Pearce and Joel Hamling. Power's veteran forwards Charlie Dixon and Justin Westhoff had the "air" to themselves; and when the conditions got slippery, they had a pack of eager bulls like Sam Power-Pepper, Wines, and Rockliff to mop up loose balls. They gave a wet weather football clinic as they locked the ball into their forward line for the whole of the second quarter. Once into the attack, Port dropped players behind the ball and denied the Dockers and chance of moving the ball past center. Port dominated the contested possessions as the younger Dockers were pushed and pounded in the packs.
When the rain stopped in the third quarter, the game reverted to a more even contest with both teams scoring a goal each for the quarter. The Dockers' disposal efficiency improved markedly in the drier conditions, but with Lycett dominating in the ruck and Port winning more clearances, the Dockers were unable to get on the front foot. Nat Fyfe lifted for the Dockers in the final term and took two good marks (catches) up forward, but only converted once. Jesse Hogan, playing his first game since being injured a year ago, worked himself into the contest for the Dockers, but remained scoreless. Ollie Wines shut down any chance of a Docker revival by getting loose at the 12-minute mark and booting his only goal, to slam the gate shut on the Dockers.
The Power play an unspectacular, but solid form of contested football, where they work to outnumber the opposition at the fall of the ball and then bulldoze it to their big forwards, Charlie Dixon and Justin Westoff. It is a style that so far has suited the format of shorter quarters. They remain undefeated on the season. Next week, Port Adelaide meet the West Coast Eagles at Metricon Stadium in Queensland. The Eagles have been disappointing since moving to the " hub" in Queensland, and are playing a style of football that emulates social distancing. West Coast will try to regain hunger for the contest, but Port Adelaide don't appear to be in a mood to do anyone favors.
The young Dockers have been competitive in their three games, but are still missing key players and lack bulk and experience. Next week they meet the Gold Coast Suns, also at Metricon. The young Suns are running high on confidence, after disposing of West Coast and Adelaide in consecutive weeks. It will be a game for the young talent from both sides to shine.
Scores: Fremantle Dockers: 4.1 4.1 5.2 6.5 (41) Port Adelaide Power: 3.1 8.5 9.7 10.10 (70) Best: Fremantle Dockers: Fyfe, Walters, Bewley, Aish, Cerra Port Adelaide Power: Boak, Wines, Rockliff, Lycett, Ebert
Article last changed on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 - 12:53 AM EDT