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Five talking points: Port Adelaide vs Melbourne

Marcus Wilson // afl.com.au  June 22, 2018 11:45 PM

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 22: Jasper Pittard and Justin Westhoff of the Power celebrate a goal during the 2018 AFL round 14 match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Melbourne Demons at Adelaide Oval on June 22, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Media)

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 22: Jasper Pittard and Justin Westhoff of the Power celebrate a goal during the 2018 AFL round 14 match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Melbourne Demons at Adelaide Oval on June 22, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Media)

This story originally appeared on afl.com.au

1. World Cup scoreline before Demons soccer clear

Both sides have the ability to kick big scores but closing in on time on during the first quarter the 3-3 scoreline would’ve looked more at home in a match being played in Russia. But the Demons were on top and finally got rewarded - a strong lead and mark saw Mitch Hannan kick the first goal of the game at the 21-minute mark. Tom McDonald added the Demons’ second before Dougal Howard, like an under-pressure goalkeeper, couldn’t clear the ball on the last line of defence, leaving Christian Petracca to soccer the ball from close range to give the visitors the edge. Brad Ebert pegged one back after the siren that went someway to halting Melbourne's momentum.

2. Simmering tensions continue after half-time siren

After a fiery first half featuring 89-tackles and some heavy hits, the players were still pumped up and angry as they walked towards their respective changerooms. Angus Brayshaw had to guide Jack Viney away from the push-and-shove, while one of the umpires called on Nathan Jones to control Clayton Oliver. The Power’s tackling machine Sam Powell-Pepper was still in a physical mood and was treading a fine line that may be scrutinised by the Match Review Officer. The players were niggling each other across the length of the centre square before they reluctantly went their separate ways. Todd Marshall was flattened by Oscar McDonald in the first quarter and Charlie Dixon steamed into Jordan Lewis in the second – just two of numerous incidents that ignited the animosity. Serial agitator Jordan Lewis wasn’t’ involved in the scuffle as he was being interviewed just metres away, with the former Hawk describing the fracas as a “waste of time”.

3. Demons fail on the big stage again
 
Melbourne has delivered some impressive performances this season, but a heavy loss against Richmond in Round 5 and a forgettable Queen’s Birthday encounter against Collingwood left questions about whether the emerging Demons can perform on the big stage. There’s no greater acid test than a Friday night encounter at the Adelaide Oval and Melbourne was up for the challenge. Its tackling was a feature, earning numerous holding-the-ball decisions as Power players tried to break free. While it was a gallant performance, they were outscored 3.2 to 0.2 in the final quarter when the contest was at its hottest - Simon Goodwin’s team still has a point to prove in the pressure games.

4. Ruck battle lives up to expectations

Max Gawn and Paddy Ryder are among the most dangerous ruckmen in the competition and their battle within a war was a real arm wrestle. Gawn had 16 possessions and 53 hit-outs, while the Power big man had 10 touches and 40 hit-outs. The Demons ruckman claims the honours, but Ryder goes home with that winning feeling.

5. Hoff the hero

Justin Westhoff has displayed evergreen form throughout this season but set shots haven’t been his forte in 2018. The Power veteran’s jitters looked set to continue when he hit the post from 20 metres in the first quarter, but in the third term he kicked truly from close range after taking an overhead mark behind the pack. He then saved his best for last. Not known for his long kicking, the 31-year-old made the distance from outside 50 to give his side a match-winning 11-point lead in the fourth quarter.