1st Jul 2012
Persistent Port lose fight against West
Port Adelaide went down to West Adelaide by 17 points in a low scoring, scrappy game at Alberton Oval on Saturday.
The Magpies were slow off the blocks, with West controlling play in the opening term.
Port managed just two points to the Bloods’ 2.2 at the end of the first quarter, with the home side seemingly unable to break through West Adelaide’s ultra-defensive style of play.
The first ten minutes of the second quarter played out much the same, but the Magpies found a spark through Luke Harder as he slotted through Port’s first major of the afternoon.
West Adelaide continued to play their defensive style, getting extra numbers behind the ball and clogging up Port’s forward line with loose men in defence.
Port Adelaide was finally able to find a way through the congestion midway through the second quarter and began playing their attacking brand of football.
James Watt and Kory Beard were influential changing the momentum with their hard running and ability move the ball quickly into Port’s forward 50, giving their teammates a better chance to score.
A late goal from Graham Johncock managed to level the scores going into the main break.
Although pressure-filled stoppages dominated the third quarter, West Adelaide was cleaner in its movement and scored the first goal of the second half.
Jeremy Clayton was involved in a tough marking contest, which saw him limp from the ground with a shoulder and rib injury.
Port was able to rise to the challenge as players fought through traffic and allowed Mercer to score his second for the day and level the scores again.
Despite the pressure from the Magpies, the Bloods scored two quick goals in reply.
The Magpies kept fighting and its players maintained their intensity with a third goal from Mercer late in the third quarter putting the home side within one straight kick at the final break.
The final quarter was another fierce contest and it wasn’t until the eighth minute mark of the before Westies got on top with two unanswered goals for the quarter.
The Magpies had an opportunity to close the gap through Clayton who courageously returned to the ground, but he was unable to convert from a free kick.
Senior Coach Tony Bamford said it was a mix between lack of confidence and skill errors that cost the Magpies the game.
“It has a bit [to do with confidence], but probably more to do with the skill level - critical errors, and some of our decision making today was the most disappointing,” said Bamford.
Despite the loss, Bamford was particularly impressed with the effort shown by his charges and the fight shown by the backline.
“Today the boys had a fair good crack – it was disappointing we didn’t win – but the effort from the boys was there, it’s just the execution that cost us,” said Bamford.
“Compared to last week, at no time [today] did the players appear to throw it in, they had a crack and I thought last week a few tried to hide – so that was a step forward.
“Our back six stood up unbelievably well - Aseri Raikiwasa was good - he is still a young player and young at this level, but I thought his first half in particular, he took a pretty good player [Fisher] to the cleaners and Scanlon did a good job down back.
“Kory Beard was really good today, and Luke Harder also for value for touches – but in my eyes Kory was the best player,” he said.
Port Adelaide has a bye next week and will play North Adelaide at Prospect Oval on Sunday week.
“We will do something different, get the players away from here and freshen them up – but the week leading into the game will be a big week – we are just looking for a win.”
Port Adelaide 5.6 (36) def. by
West Adelaide: 8.5 (53)
Best: Beard, Watt, Summerton, Harder, Kirkwood
Goals: Mercer 3, Johncock, Harder