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Talking points: Port Adelaide v Brisbane Lions

Kym Morgan // AFL Media  June 17, 2017 10:26 PM

Highlights: Power v Lions, Rd 13 2017 - PTV The best bits from our win over Brisbane.

This story originally appeared on afl.com.au.

1. Have the Lions turned the corner?

This clash was more important for the Brisbane Lions than many might have realised. If they manage to right the ship in coming seasons, we might just be able to pinpoint the past two weeks as the turning point. On June 8, promising key forward Josh Schache re-signed amid fierce interest from Victorian clubs. The Lions then broke a 10-match losing streak by thumping Fremantle at the Gabba, and then re-signed three more players including potential future captain Harris Andrews. A soul-destroying loss in Adelaide would have undone the momentum, and the last time the Lions travelled to the City of Churches, they lost by 21 goals. But this time around they were competitive in Adelaide, something not many sides can boast in 2017, despite quiet games from star midfielders Tom Rockliff and Dayne Beams. Youngsters like Eric Hipwood continue to show plenty and the Lions are playing with enough spirit and system under Chris Fagan to suggest their emergence from the football abyss is a matter of when, rather than if.

2. Port needs Jasper Pittard more than we thought
The Power defence fared OK without Pittard against the Lions and his replacement Dan Houston may well be a better one-on-one player. But Port clearly has more drive off half-back with Pittard in the side, and this was what Port lacked at times during a relatively unimpressive effort against Lions. Pittard was an All Australian squad member in 2016 and has averaged almost 22 touches a game this year. In decent form, he is clearly in Port's best 22. Hinkley and the Power brains trust will be desperately hoping he can rediscover.

3. Four points in the bag, but Port can still lift
Two weeks after demolishing Hawthorn to establish their top-four credentials, the Power's form looks a touch scratchy. Ken Hinkley would have taken any win on Saturday following a disastrous 70-point loss to Essendon last week and his side duly took the four points against the bottom-placed Lions but struggled to put them away well into the final term at Adelaide Oval. Paddy Ryder is giving the Power first looks around stoppages but Port's ball movement and transition has been a level down from what it was through the first 11 rounds. The Power are 0-5 against top-eight opposition this year and will need to improve their form ahead of what will be a revealing pair of matches against Collingwood (away) and Richmond (home). 

4. Andrews shows why Lions wanted him
The Lions' fighting effort capped an excellent week for the club and arguably their best piece of news was the re-signing of key defender Harris Andrews until the end of 2021. He again showed why the Lions were so keen to tie him to the club on a long-term deal. The 21-year-old did an excellent job on the imposing Charlie Dixon on Saturday night. Andrews acquitted himself as well in one-on-one contests as just about anyone in recent times, holding him to just one goal from 16 possessions despite plenty of supply. 

5. Ryder key to Port's finals fortunes
If Port Adelaide is to prove the real deal in 2017, Paddy Ryder must continue to play the way he did against the Lions. Ryder's disposal count was nothing special in this match but his ruck work was a major difference. The Lions' midfielders resigned themselves to losing the hitouts and they began trying to read the ball off Ryder's hands. He then went forward and kicked an important goal early in the final term. The footy world will learn whether Port is a contender deal over the coming fortnight and Ryder will be pivotal.

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