IT MAY not have been the most clinical display of football by Port Adelaide, but SANFL coach Chad Cornes had plenty of praise for his player’s ability to snatch back momentum and eventually kick away to a 55-point win over Glenelg.
After enjoying a 35-point lead at the main break, the Magpies defence was carved up by Terry Milera and outgoing Glenelg forward Clint Alleway, who managed to get the home side back within 18 points early in the final term.
The mental strength of Cornes’ side stood up, especially that of his skipper Steve Summerton, who inspired his teammates to dig deep and withstand the challenge.
Cornes said the three-quarter-time instruction was to focus on team defence and precise ball movement and he was pleased it was executed.
“I don’t think it was the greatest performance of the year,” Cornes said.
“But for the boys to find that bit extra in the last half of the last quarter and really put them away showed a bit of a ruthless side to our game.
“We spoke about finding our man a bit quicker and shutting down their ball movement and then we spoke about how we needed to attack the last quarter in terms of our ball movement.”
Although Port, sixth, and Glenelg, seventh, only had a slight chance of making the finals, a win on Saturday was crucial to remain in the hunt with one minor round match to play.
As expected when old rivals battle and each have a chance to crush the other’s dreams of playing in September, the contest was heated.
Cornes said he “loved” seeing his side play with passion.
“I encourage the boys to play like that and they just have to have that fine balance of doing it but not giving away the free kicks,” Cornes said.
“A couple of times we probably over stepped the mark and gave away a free kick and a 25m penalty as well.
“But as a coach, I love nothing more than seeing the boys stick up for each other and play hard, tough footy.”
Port Adelaide plays Norwood in its final match of the SANFL minor round at Alberton Oval on Sunday August 21 at 2.10pm.
The Magpies will jump Central, who sits in fifth, if they beat the Redlegs and the Dogs lose their final game the following week, as they have a bye next week.
“I want the boys to get up and play tough, hard, footy at Alberton Oval and give the supporters what they deserve for the last game of the year,” Cornes said.
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