PORT Adelaide has survived Fremantle's strangling defence, with a clutch late goal from young star Jason Horne-Francis helping propel the Power to a thrilling three-point win at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.

As they had against Carlton one week earlier, the Dockers led for much of the night and looked poised to secure a big scalp on the road, but the Power surged late to win 9.12 (66) to 9.9 (63), ending a heartbreaking extended road trip for Freo.

The Dockers had held a nine-point lead during time on of the fourth quarter after Andrew Brayshaw snapped a brilliant goal in traffic, but the Power responded when key forward Charlie Dixon took a massive pack mark and converted with less than five minutes to play.


Horne-Francis then moved forward and took a contested grab opposed to Brandon Walker, keeping his cool to convert before Port Adelaide scrambled to the line and survived some late attacks from Fremantle, included a rushed shot in traffic from Caleb Serong.

The win leaves the Power 4-1, having held up against the best defensive team in the AFL right now. For the Dockers (3-2), the performance adds some weight to their credentials in 2024, but leaves the team plenty to ponder after another low-scoring match was taken from their hands late.

In a battle of two of the best young midfields, Port pair Connor Rozee (26 disposals and eight inside 50s) and Zak Butters (23 and a goal) were excellent, while Horne-Francis had his big moment late.


Freo pair Caleb Serong (29, nine clearances and eight inside 50s) and Hayden Young (27 and six tackles) had their measure at the coalface, but it was the Power's ability to get free in big moments late that was most impactful.

Ultimately, it was a match full of unused momentum followed by quick counterpunches that did maximum damage, with Port Adelaide's pair of late goals doing just that after Fremantle's extended periods on top in the game.

The Dockers set the tone early and jumped into the contest well, getting the game on their terms through midfield ascendency and a brilliant backline that was able to repeatedly intercept.  


They struggled to pierce through the Power defence with the ball, however, and had only a slim lead when Butters and Rozee started to work into the game and allowed Port to take its turn with the momentum.

The Power got better bang for buck, too, with threatening forwards Mitch Georgiades and Todd Marshall kicking back-to-back goals to create a seven-point buffer at the first break.

After an animated discussion with Ken Hinkley at quarter-time, veteran forward Charlie Dixon made a statement to start the second term, taking a big contested mark in the goalsquare and kicking his first goal.


The quarter belonged to Freo, however, and young forward Treacy, who booted three goals in a five-minute burst, the last of which was set up by the sharp movement and neat kicking of small defender Brandon Walker.

With an edge in the contest and hard-earned clearance ascendency, the Dockers had a path to victory if they could continue to hold the Power's scoring at bay. They were able to through the third quarter, despite Port's 16-7 advantage in forward entries, with only four points separating the teams at the last break.

PORT ADELAIDE                3.3   4.5   6.9   9.12 (66)

FREMANTLE                       2.2   5.5   7.7   9.9 (63)


Port Adelaide: Dixon 2, Georgiades 2, Bergman, Butters, Marshall, Rioli, Horne-Francis

Fremantle: Treacy 3, Amiss 2, Banfield, Brayshaw, Emmett, Taberner


Port Adelaide: Rozee, Houston, Butters, Georgiades, Burton, Zerk-Thatcher

Fremantle: Serong, Pearce, Ryan, Young, Treacy, Clark 


Port Adelaide: Zerk-Thatcher (right shoulder)

Fremantle: Nil


Port Adelaide: Jackson Mead (replaced Jed McEntee at three-quarter time)

Fremantle: Neil Erasmus (replaced Jaeger O'Meara in the fourth quarter)

Crowd: 35,658 at Adelaide Oval