17th Jun 2012
A brave Port Adelaide fall short against Centrals
By Rhys Clark
A valiant Port Adelaide fell 15 points short against Central District in a tightly contested game at Playford Alive Oval on Saturday.
The Magpies started off strongly and kicked the opening two goals of the game and looked dangerous in all areas on the field.
The Bulldogs settled and kicked the next three goals before Magpies captain James Meiklejohn kicked a steadier to tie the game, before Zane Kirkwood kicked another to give the Magpies a six point lead going into quarter time.
It took almost seven minutes for the first goal to be kicked of the second term with a resilient Magpies defence withholding numerous Bulldogs attacks.
The Bulldogs led out the quarter but it was by no means a one-sided game, with the Magpies fighting back to be only two points down at halftime.
The third quarter started off much like the first, with Port coming out on the attack through Sam Gray’s fantastic snap in traffic to give the Magpies back the lead.
Senior Coach, Tony Bamford, said the Bulldogs dictated play for some of the third quarter which slowed the Magpies momentum.
“The third quarter there was a patch of play where they really controlled it, they slowed it down,” said Bamford.
“They just kept on hitting targets on the lead up, it’s almost like they stopped our momentum and it was hard to get it back after that.”
Port Adelaide matched the Bulldogs for intensity and was hard at the contested football – but were unable to claw Central’s lead back.
Bamford said the game was there to be won for Port Adelaide, but felt they played “safe” football at times which hurt them.
“We had a chance to win it and I felt we played safe a little bit too often when we had to take the game on,” said Bamford
“We have been brave for two years now, that’s no longer an out for us. We’ve got to win those games and we didn’t take the chances when we had to,” he said.
Although the loss was disappointing for a Magpies outfit looking for their second win in a row, Bamford said the signs are positive.
“We’re a better team now than we were a month ago. No doubt about that. We are getting the more consistent effort.”
“Some of our key stat indicators are pointing our way now.
There were some good performances from the Magpies key players, including Meiklejohn, Clayton and Summerton.
“I thought James [Meiklejohn] was good again, he was really effective at hitouts and around the ground. Just for value of touches, Luke Harder, who kicked four goals,” said Bamford.
“Summo [Steven Summerton] and Jezza [Jeremy Clayton] were smart with their ball use and I thought young Aseri Raikiwasa was good down back”.
Debutant, James Watt, also impressed in his first game for the League side – showing poise, hardness and defended well when it was asked of him.
The Magpies will move onto next week where they take on the Eagles at Alberton.
“We’ve got two very winnable games now [against the Eagles and West] before the bye, both at home,” said Bamford.
“If we said a month ago that we would win three of the next four games I would have taken that and we are still alive to do that”.
Port Adelaide 11.5 (71) def by
Central District 13.8 (86)
Best: Dolling, Summerton, Harder, Clayton, Meiklejohn
Goals: Harder 4, Clayton, Kirkwood, Slattery, Meiklejohn, Gray, Wilson, Cockshell