Port Adelaide had gotten its first win on the board in 2022 in an 84-point smashing over the West Coast Eagles, 18.9 (117) to 4.9 (33).
The Power used a dominant seven-goal second term to charge ahead on the scoreboard in an emphatic display from Ken Hinkley’s men.
It came behind huge performances from Connor Rozee (33 disposals), who received the Peter Badcoe VC Medal as best on ground, and Todd Marshall and Jeremy Finlayson (five goals each).
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It marked West Coast eighth-lowest score in its history, while the club’s three-quarter time score of 14 (1.8) was its lowest in 30 years.
Adding to the Eagles’ woes was their horror injury run continuing as Elliot Yeo was subbed out of the game after suffering a concussion. Port weren’t without its own concerns, with Robbie Gray subbed out of the game icing his knee.
The result saw Port’s percentage rise considerably from 75 to 93.9 as it climbed from 18th on the ladder up to 18th, while the Eagles are now perched at the bottom.
Lachie Jones (Port Adelaide) and Zac Langdon (West Coast) were named the medical subs.
The Eagles got off to a perfect start, with Jamie Cripps kicking the opening goal in the first minute of the contest, while Tim Kelly started hot.
Port had its chances going the other way but were too slow going into attack as West Coast’s defence had time to set up behind the ball.
And the Eagles were also playing a slow brand, with Melbourne great Garry Lyon noting on Fox Footy how “laborious” the build up for both sides was.
West Coast gave away a free kick in the first quarter for having too many players on the field in a bizarre obstruction.
Mitch Georgiades finally kicked the Power’s first goal of the game with under three minutes left in the first term to cap off a strong term from the youngster as he spearhead’s the club’s forward line without Charlie Dixon.
“He’s been really good Georgiades. We’ve asked from a lift from him. He’s worked really hard, he’s got up the ground, he’s won hard footy, there’s good development from a young key forward,” Lyon said.
Nothing separated these teams on the scoreboard at quarter time, with the Power 1.2 (8) and Eagles 1.2 (8) all tied up.
Zak Butters was quiet for the Power with just one disposal in the first quarter to come under scrutiny from Fox Footy’s pundits.
“A lot of hype around him at the start of the year, needs to get himself into the game,” Crows great Mark Ricciuto said of Butters on Fox Footy.
Jeremy Finlayson put through the opening goal of the second term after receiving a handball unopposed from Travis Boak, who was lining up on a tight angle.
Hawthorn legend Jason Dunstall noted that it was a “bad mistake” by West Coast to not account for Finlayson, while Lyon labelled it a “lapse in concentration big time.”
The Power started piling on goals in the second quarter, kicking three more in a row as Eagles coach Adam Simpson was seen on the cameras visibly frustrated.
“This could get ugly,” Lyon said.
Todd Marshall kicked all three of his goals in the second term in a dominant stretch for the young forward, while Connor Rozee was busy with 17 disposals in a midfield role.
“Travis Boak will accept whatever comes his way, Butters is going to get times in the middle, but the Rozee progression as a midfielder for me in this first half is the story,” Lyon said.
The Eagles’ midfield was smashed in the first half as the likes of Luke Shuey (seven disposals), Jack Redden (five disposals) and Elliot Yeo (four disposals) all struggled to get involved, the latter getting subbed out before the main break after a head clash.
It prompted Lyon to question whether West Coast should inject Liam Ryan or Willie Rioli into the midfield to get them involved and change the dynamics.
“They’ve had no impact in the midfield, starting to get smashed. We don’t know how they’re travelling physically”
Ricciuto noted how the Eagles didn’t have the midfield depth to match Port.
“You line up all their midfielders compared to Port and they’re about four short, and they’re underdone.”
The Power ultimately booted eight unanswered goals in a one-sided term to take a 43-point lead into the main break, 8.5 (53) to 1.4 (10).
The only downside to the first half for the Power was Aliir Aliir limping off the ground late after appearing to reaggravate his ankle injury, but he would return in the third quarter.
The Power kept their foot down in the third term as Finlayson kicked his second major of the game, while West Coast had gone a whole hour without a goal.
West Coast started to find life midway through the third term, but Dunstall lamented their inability to hit the scoreboard.
“They have lifted their work rate. What you want to see from a West Coast perspective is reward for effort, they need to reward themselves with a couple of goals,” he said.
Robbie Gray was subbed out of the game in the third quarter with a knee issue in the only blemish on Port’s day.
The Power led by 59 points at three-quarter time, 11.8 (73) to 1.8 (14). It marked West Coast’s lowest three-quarter time score in 30 years
Lyon called out a play where Liam Ryan pulled out of a marking contest late — believing it was reflective of the Eagles’ mindset.
“I don’t want to show this to embarrass Liam Ryan by any stretch of the imagination. But this is what they’re confronted with right now and what Adam Simpson’s great challenge is. Liam Ryan goes back, he has a look, and he didn’t go hard enough at the ball,” the Demons legend said.
“I don’t think he’s scared in any way. If you’re playing and your mindset is where it needs to be, he takes that mark.”
The Eagles lifted again in the fourth quarter, kicking the first three goals to reclaim some pride and make the scoreboard look more respectful.
But the Power hit straight back with the next seven goals to finish the game in emphatic fashion.
“Ken (Hinkley) would be thrilled with this… they have been the dominant side, and a 67-point margin is more reflective than the 42 that they were looking at not too long ago,” Lyon said.
Watch it live on Fox Footy on channel 504.
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