Port Adelaide fell agonisingly short of an elimination final victory after going down to Central District today by seven points.

In a rematch of the final minor round match, neither team was able to grapple control of the contest until the very end, with the lead traded multiple times throughout the final quarter.

Coach Tyson Goldsack said the Magpies just couldn’t get on top of the Bulldogs in what was a high-pressure stakes game.

“It was high pressure stakes; the two teams had swings of momentum, and we couldn’t stop them for a portion there,” he said.

“They were getting easy ball out the front of stoppage and getting really dangerous looks inside 50, which made it really hard for our backline players, and then we had to work quite hard to get ours.

“They probably had the upper hand there, even though we were still hitting the scoreboard, they were doing it in a slightly easier way, and finished on top. It’s pretty disappointing stuff.”


Despite the disappointing result, Goldsack reflected on a season which saw so much development from previous seasons.

“There would have been five games we’ve lost by under two goals, which we haven’t been able to say for the last couple of years,” he said.

“The fact that we were in most games, outside of maybe three for the year, was a highlight.

“But I thought we could challenge a little bit deeper in finals, so that’s where the disappointment comes back to front of mind.”

Small forward Orazio Fantasia put on an electrifying performance against the Dogs, with four goals. Image: Brandon Hancock.

Port Adelaide came out firing from the opening bounce as Cody Szust (17 disposals, two goals) scored the first goal, before Central District wrestled momentum to take a slender quarter-time lead.

The second term was punctuated by the work of Orazio Fantasia (four goals, four tackles), who lit up the Adelaide Oval with three goals in six minutes to put the Magpies in front at half time.

While Jed Hagan (12 disposals, three goals, six tackles) opened the scoring for the second half, the Bulldogs were persistent against the fierce Port Adelaide pressure, clawing back the margin.

A huge 50m goal from Scott Lycett (11 disposals, 35 hitouts) broke the previously locked scores and took the Magpies into the final quarter a goal ahead.

Scott Lycett kicked an important goal on the stroke of three quarter time. Image: Brandon Hancock.

Both teams lead at stages of the final quarter, however it was Central District who made the most of their opportunities and seized the lead midway through, running out the game victorious.

Goldsack was proud of the team’s dedication to the contest in a match where they never gave up.

“One thing that’s never questioned is our commitment and having a crack, and that was in spades today,” he said.

“I’d be a lot more disappointed if we went out of finals and got really rolled and didn’t play the brand of footy that we like to see.

“That would’ve been really disappointing. This is still disappointing, but it’s not such a hard pill to swallow because it was well fought and they were just a little bit better than us.”

While the Magpies have been eliminated from the SANFL finals series, the AFL side will play the Brisbane Lions in an away qualifying final next Saturday at the Gabba at 7:25pm (6:55pm ACST).

Best: Fantasia, Hagan, Burgoyne, Bonner, Mead

Goals: Fantasia 4, Hagan 3, Szust 2, Lycett, Teakle