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Montgomery: We’re not going to compromise on playing an exciting brand of football

Brett Montgomery on FIVEaa: 10 March 2019 - PTV Brett Montgomery on the FIVEaa Sports Show with Rowey and Bicks

PORT ADELAIDE assistant coach Brett Montgomery says his side won’t compromise on playing an exciting brand of football, despite admitting the high-scoring shoot-out in the first half of the Power’s JLT Community Series win over North Melbourne made the coaches’ box uneasy.

The Power led the Kangaroos at half time by 12 points in a 22-goal first half.

That included the highest scoring first quarter in AFL pre-season history where each side booted seven goals.

“We’re probably poles apart in terms of what fans like seeing and what coaches like seeing and I think the fan in us all says that these changes or improvements are great for the game,” Montgomery said during a radio interview on Adelaide station FIVEaa.

“But it did make us a little uneasy watching that centre bounce play in the first quarter, that’s for sure.

“The centre bounce has become quite devastating.”

The Kangaroos at one stage in the first quarter booted six straight goals, with five directly from centre bounce clearances.

The new AFL rules regarding starting positions mean clubs can’t put players behind the ball to halt their opposition’s momentum and Montgomery said it was pleasing that his side was able to get on top of those issues in other ways in the second half.

“To give up five centre bounce goals in the first quarter is not how we want to be playing the game – it just doesn’t give us a chance,” he said.

“With the new rules, we can’t halt momentum at all so you’ve got to get your shape and your contest and then you battle right in the middle and I think we did that after half time, I think we only conceded one or two for the remainder of the game.

“That took away their one wood, which was keeping them dominant in the first quarter.”

Against Adelaide a week earlier, the Power turned the ball over in defence on numerous occasions because of its want to keep the ball moving and find quick transition from defence into attack.

The side worked on varying its tempo depending on the game situation, without going away from playing quick football.

Montgomery said it seemed to work, particularly in the second half of the game against North.

“I think as the game played, in general play, we controlled the tempo of it, albeit we probably overdid it a bit – I don’t think we want to be taking 140 marks per week,” he said.

“We’re clearly searching for our balance between pace levels but we’re not going to compromise on the excitement levels.

“We’re really excited to see where this takes us.”

Supporters also had a good glimpse of the Power’s future with its three first-round draft picks impressing in the pre-season to put themselves firmly in line for Round 1 AFL debuts.

Zak Butters was the pick of the lot with a 25-possession performance against Adelaide followed up with three goals against the Roos.

But Montgomery said managing their excitement and fitness as well as external expectation would involve everyone at the club.

“We’ll also have in equal part, making sure we not only manage their keeping a lid on it and excitement levels but also their energy levels and their work loads to make sure that, whilst we’re not going to be reliant on those two three first-year players to play every week and win us games and keep us competitive, we are looking to see what they can do in the early part of the year.

“So it’s a pretty big task by all our staff, both conditioning and coaching to make sure they’re right.

‘Our fans and coaches and players can see they’re going to bring a different dynamic that we’ve been looking for for some time and one that really tailors into the excitement levels we’re trying to play with.

“I think all three are putting their names up in lights but we know spots are getting tight for what is less than two weeks away.”

Port Adelaide’s players will return to training on Thursday as part of an AFL mandated four-day break.