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Second half surge sees Port victorious in JLT Crows clash

Loukas Founten  March 10, 2018 7:08 PM

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 10: Jack Watts and Paddy Ryder of the Power celebrate a goal during the AFL 2018 JLT Community Series match between Port Adelaide and the Adelaide Crows at Alberton Oval on March 10, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Media)

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 10: Jack Watts and Paddy Ryder of the Power celebrate a goal during the AFL 2018 JLT Community Series match between Port Adelaide and the Adelaide Crows at Alberton Oval on March 10, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Media)

SIX goals from gun recruit Jack Watts has guided Port Adelaide to a confidence boosting 26 point win over rivals Adelaide in its final pre-season preparation match.

The Power dominated after half time of the JLT Community Series match, booting 12 goals to three to overcome a 26-point half-time deficit.

The sides met in an AFL sanctioned contest at Alberton Oval for the first time and in stifling 35 degree heat, a strong Crows outfit was first to hit the scoreboard with Mitch McGovern booting the opening goal inside two minutes after a free kick inside 50.

Sam Gray responded for the Power, after earning a free kick and a 50 metre penalty.

The home side was winning the hit-outs but being dominated in the clearances, and it started to show on the scoreboard as strongly-built Adelaide draftee Darcy Fogarty booted consecutive goals from outside 50 after marking on the lead.

He could have had a third but sprayed another set shot across the face after marking inside 50.

The Power started to work its way into the contest and strong defensive work in the forward half saw Robbie Gray stroll into goal and reduce the margin to eight points.

The biggest cheer of the quarter came when Port recruit Jack Watts nudged his opponent under the contest, picked up the ball and steadied to kick truly from the pocket.

Watts was also heavily involved in the opening stages of the second term.

After Bryce Gibbs made the most of a dropped mark by Hamish Hartlett on half back to boot his first from outside 50, Watts showed his value to snap a goal on his left foot from the left pocket.

He and Dom Barry missed opportunities to close the margin to within a goal and the Crows made them pay with three straight goals to Rory Atkins, Fogarty and stand-in Captain Rory Sloane.

With a 26-point lead at half time, Adelaide had been well served by its midfield which was dominating the clearances 23 to 12 despite the Power having eight more hit-outs.

It was a different Port Adelaide which surfaced after the break with Chad Wingard finding space at half forward to open the scoring from 50.

He and Watts traded goals and when Watts slotted his fourth for the match, the margin was suddenly back to just two points.

Gibbs booted his second goal to halt the run after getting on the end of some impressive team play but Sam Gray responded after marking a long effort from new recruit Dom Barry.

Port was seemingly stretching the Adelaide defence by going tall in the forward line and when Charlie Dixon marked on the lead late in the term and booted the home side’s sixth goal for the quarter, the Power hit the lead for the first time.

A hamstring injury to Jasper Pittard the only dampener for the Alberton faithful.

Watts continued to terrorise the Adelaide defence, booting his fifth within the first two minutes of the final term and his sixth after marking deep inside 50 in a one-on-one contest.

Patrick Ryder took the chance to rest in the forward 50 and showed his class with the ball at ground level by bouncing a snap-shot home to extend the lead to 14 points.

Rory Atkins kept his side alive with his second of the match two minutes later but with both sides tiring in the trying conditions, it was the Power finishing the stronger, and Watts gave up the chance to add a seventh by passing over the top for Dougal Howard and Justin Westhoff to seal the result.

SCOREBOARD

PORT ADELAIDE 3.1 4.2 10.2 16.2 (98)
ADELAIDE 4.2 8.4 9.5 11.6 (72)

Goals
Watts 6, S. Gray, Wingard, R Gray 2, Dixon, Ryder, Howard, Westhoff

Best
Watts, Westhoff, Howard, Byrne-Jones, Hartlett, Motlop, R Gray

Injuries
Pittard (hamstring)

Crowd
6157 at Alberton Oval