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We are Port Adelaide

Lokan: We were up for the fight

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - June 17: Matthew Lokan, coach of the Magpies during the 2018 SANFL round 11 match between the Port Adelaide Magpies and the Sturt Football Club at Alberton Oval on June 17, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Media)
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - June 17: Matthew Lokan, coach of the Magpies during the 2018 SANFL round 11 match between the Port Adelaide Magpies and the Sturt Football Club at Alberton Oval on June 17, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Media)

PORT ADELAIDE snuffed out an early challenge from North Adelaide to kick eight of the last 10 goals to run out 42-point winners on Saturday and move into third place on the SANFL ladder.

In tough, wet and cold conditions the scores were level at quarter time, but the Magpies trailed the highly competitive Roosters in the important clearance and contested ball statistics.

Port turned the tables in this area led by Tom Rockliff’s 57 disposals, 14 clearances and 12 tackles which pleased coach Matthew Lokan.

“I was extremely proud of our effort, especially the last three quarters,” Lokan said.

“North came out and showed their tough aggression around the contest and they certainly beat us in that area – we were down in contested ball, ground balls and clearances at quarter time.

“The last three quarters was the way that we want to play, we were up for the fight and came away with a really good win.

“North base their game around contested ball - if you give them a sniff they will take a mile – when they get on top and get their running and stoppage game going they are really hard to stop.”

The Magpies, and particularly Lokan enjoyed having the likes of returning stars Rockliff, Justin Westhoff, Paddy Ryder, Sam Powell-Pepper and Jarrod Lienert at his disposal.

“We had 17 AFL listed guys today, our guys in particular that came out of the AFL side were impressive - Tom’s (Rockliff) was obviously returning from injury but Paddy, Westhoff, Powell-Pepper and Lienert were really solid,” he said.

“Looking from a form point of view it was really good that these guys came back with a really good attitude, but the thing that’s been our strength has been our consistency across the whole park regardless of who’s playing.

“Rocky was obviously outstanding, to have 12 tackles and 57 disposals is a fair day out.”

Moving from seventh to third following this win, Port’s season is beginning to take shape after three consecutive wins, but Lokan said his side must remain focussed.

“Our last month of footy has been really solid but we have Westies next week and Adelaide after that so it doesn’t get any easier from here,” he said.

“We have a reasonable run with injuries at the moment and a healthy list of players to choose from, so for us it is more of a focus on what we can bring each week and how we develop our guys into being a really consistent team.”