A THIRD quarter surge saw Port Adelaide run away with a 28-point win over South Adelaide at Flinders University Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Experienced Magpies forwards Steven Motlop (four goals, 15 disposals, seven marks) and Charlie Dixon (three goals, five marks) starred, while acting captain Jack Trengove was excellent with 25 disposals, eight marks and two goals.
After a highly entertaining first half, Port broke the game wide open in the third quarter with eight-goals-to-one to lead by 50 points at three quarter time.
Port were on the board in the opening minutes of the match when Trengove – in his second game back from injury – roved a pack in the scoreboard pocket and dribbled through the first goal.
The Panthers went through a period of dominance and locked the ball in its forward half but struggled to convert a major score.
Constantly under pressure, the Magpies looked to move the ball slowly along the wing when rebounding from defence, but eventually took a risk and spotted Joe Atley in the centre of the ground who sent a piercing pass into Motlop leading from the goalsquare to give Port its second major and a 12-point buffer.
South finally found a target inside 50 in Sam Overall, who marked 20m out and had no trouble in booting his side’s first goal.
The Panthers had a second just minutes later when Sam Whittlesea converted to level the scores.
Dixon went possessionless in the first term and was being triple teamed in the forward line, while Trengove wasn’t having any difficulties in a 10-disposal, three-tackle and one goal opening term.
Scores were level at the first break and it was the Panthers who again had all the run in the second term and found an early goal through Ben Heaslip.
Port started to take the game on and it paid off with two quick goals through big men Sam Hayes and Dixon.
After a quiet start Dixon enjoyed a period of dominance as he found himself up the ground, taking marks and collecting four disposals in two minutes.
Keeping with the trend of what was an entertaining seven-goal quarter, Trent McKenzie took a mark at half back and hit the ground running to boot a dangerous ball 30m out from goal.
Peter Ladhams couldn’t quite pull down the mark, but gathered and snapped a goal with the help of an Angus Monfries style bounce.
Former West Coast Eagle Malcolm Karpany replied for South with a crucial set shot goal in front of the supporting grandstand, before Motlop propped up for a second goal from the pocket with the last kick of the half to give Port a seven-point lead at the main break.
Ladhams did the ruckwork and found the clearance to start the third quarter, finding Dixon on the lead who goaled in the opening seconds of the term.
The damaging Motlop was finding plenty of the football and streamed through the middle of the ground to find Todd Marshall leading back towards goal.
Marshall converted and gave the Magpies a 19-point lead four minutes into the third term.
Port had four goals in a row and three in the opening seven minutes of the term when Motlop marked on the goal line and snapped his third goal.
The Magpies cashed in with five more goals for the term to silence the once boisterous home crowd and take an unassailable lead into the final break.
The ball was parked in South’s forward half for the entirety of the final term, but couldn’t put any scoreboard pressure on Port until too late.
The Panthers managed 4.6 in the final quarter, including three goals in four minutes to close out the game but the lead was never in jeopardy.
Atley was outstanding for Port, collecting 27 disposals and 11 clearances, while Ladhams was an imposing force with three goals, 21 disposals and 21 hitouts.
Port Adelaide: 2.2, 6.5, 14.7, 15.9 (99)
South Adelaide: 2.2, 5.4, 6.5, 10.11 (71)
Disposals: Atley 27, Drew 26, McKenzie 26, Trengove 25.
Goals: Motlop 4, Dixon 3, Ladhams 3, Marshall 2, Trengove 2, Hayes.
Best: Ladhams, Motlop, Atley, Trengove, McKenzie, Drew.