PORT Adelaide has ended its 2016 SANFL minor round campaign with a win over Norwood - its first in two years - prevailing by 25 points at Alberton Oval on Sunday.
Although the Magpies led by as much as 66 points in the second quarter, they were forced to fend off an almighty come-back from a defiant Redlegs side which booted five unanswered goals in the final term.
The Magpies produced a strong first half which included a nine-goal-to-one haul to set up the victory.
Having not beat their oldest rival since round 17 in 2014 at Alberton Oval and with the Redlegs crushing its premiership dreams that same year, Port was eager to make amends.
The Magpies came out firing and answered coach Chad Cornes' mid-week call to play, hard, tough, football.
They put on a show for the black and white faithful in the first half with their impressive tackling and swift ball movement.
But in a turn of events, Norwood stepped up its pressure in the third quarter and were led by Harry Viney up-forward.
Viney's fourth goal to end the third quarter gave the visitors the momentum going into the final term, but they still trailed by 55-points.
The Redlegs began to win the centre clearances in the final qurter and quick goals to Kristian Rooke, Matt Panos and their skipper Alex Georgiou cut the margin to just 33-points.
Port could not stem Norwood's run and they got within 19-points before Kane Mitchell booted his third goal which ended up being the sealer.
For the second week in a row, Mitchell starred for Port, finishing with 39 disposals, and five clearances.
He was closely followed by Steve Summerton (33 disposals, four clearances two goals) and Will Snelling (29 disposals, four clearances and a goal).
Nathan Rudloff and Riley Bonner worked hard down back and combined for seven defensive rebounds.
The Magpies are now relying on Central District to lose its match against West Adelaide next week to clinch a spot in the finals series.
As It Happened Port Adelaide v Norwood
The defensive pressure coach Chad Cornes demanded pre-game was the stand out for Port Adelaide in this first term and helped the home side stamp its authority over its oldest rivals early.
The pressure the Magpies placed on Norwood was manic and the black and white managed to combine it with quick ball movement.
Port was the first to hit the scoreboard, but it was a behind to John Butcher.
It didn’t take long though, for the goal to come for the Magpies.
Strong forward-line defensive pressure by Kane Mitchell and Robbie Young resulted in a holding-the-ball free kick to Port, and Steve Summerton’s first goal.
The skipper added a second to his name a minute later, this time after taking a strong mark just inside 50.
Sam Colquhoun and Mitchell controlled the stoppages and Norwood could barely get a hand on the football.
Two goals to Robbie Young and one to Will Snelling and John Butcher gave Port a 46-point lead at quarter time and the Redlegs were held scoreless for the quarter.
GO THE MAGGIES #weareportadelaide— JC (@croweyrocks) August 21, 2016
John Butcher helped Port continue its dominance and place more scoreboard pressure on the visitors when he kicked the first goal of the quarter.
Norwood finally hit the scoreboard with a goal to Brady Dawe and it was to be the Redlegs’ sole major for the first half.
The momentum remained with Port and Anthony Biemans made his return from injury known, taking a mark inside a big pack before booting his first goal.
Robbie Young almost put himself in the running to win goal-of-the-year when he snapped from the boundary, but the ball just missed the middle sticks.
Port continued to control the tempo and were patient going forward with measured kicks to ensure the right option was found and the target hit.
The home side extended its lead to 54-points at half time.
The intensity Port produced in the first half was there to start the second half as players ran hard for each other to present options in attack.
Youngsters Cam Hewett (who had four clearances at the end of the quarter), Will Snelling (four clearances) and Brendon Ah Chee (three clearances) won the ball at the stoppages and Kane Mitchell capitalised up-forward, booting his first goal within minutes.
It was followed up by a goal to Tom Gray, but a free kick to Norwood’s Harry Viney at the other end gifted the Redlegs their second major for the afternoon.
The visitors’ increased their pressure and Port’s kicks began missing targets.
Goals to Brady Dawe and Matt Panos mid-way through the quarter reduced the Magpies’ advantage to 55 points.
The two consecutive Norwood goals were enough for the home side to step up and John Butcher kicked two majors to swing the momentum back in Pot’s favour.
Harry Viney continued to be a problem for Port and two quick goals to him again put pressure on the Magpies.
A goal to Brendon Ah Chee helped Port steady, but Viney’s fourth goal, which came late in the quarter, cut the Magpies’ lead back to 55-points at the final break.
Port did not get the start it would’ve liked and it was Norwood which had the polish in attack early in the term.
Kristian Rooke was awarded a free kick and a 25m penalty and booted the first major of the quarter.
His goal gave Norwood a sniff of causing an upset and the Redlegs turned on the heat, tackling hard and forcing the Magpies into making mistakes.
What followed was four more unanswered goals and a few behinds from Norwood and with just 10 minutes remaining, Port's arch rivals got within 19 points.
Kane Mitchell starred with 39 disposals, three goals and five clearances.
Port Adelaide 7.4 9.6 15.7 16.7 (103) defeated
Norwood 0.0 1.0 7.0 12.6 (78)
Goals Butcher 4, Mitchell 3, Summerton, R Young 2, Hawkins, Snelling, Biemans, T Gray, Ah Chee
Portadelaidefc.com.au’s best Mitchell, Snelling, Summerton, Ah Chee, Rudloff, Colquhoun