Port Adelaide will contest in its third SANFL Grand Final in six years on September 22 after defeating Glenelg by four points in the second Semi Final on Sunday.
It was an emphatic win that took guts, determination and a complete team effort and Magpies coach Matthew Lokan could not be prouder of his troops.
“It was a really good contest, both teams had ebbs and flows in the game, but to be able to get the result and hang on in the end is really pleasing,” he said.
“Glenelg are a really quality side and we knew that they were going to keep coming but I am super proud of our boys to be able to hang on in the end.
“We lost Sammy Mayes just before three quarter time, and were down to two rotations in the last, both sides were pretty fatigued so it was just a matter of trying to hang on, we tried to play a territory game, get the ball out of bounds and reset at the stoppage.
“We have won 11 of the last 12 games so our group has really stuck together – we get questioned a lot about how much we want to play finals and how important it is to us – but you can tell by the way our boys play that it means something to us and we can’t wait for two weeks’ time.”
Lokan said it was a game of big moments, most of which his side were able to create.
Aidyn Johnson and Cam Sutcliffe each kicked miraculous goals from the pockets, and Billy Frampton hacked a ball out of mid-air as it was going out of bounds into the waiting arms of Todd Marshall to put the Magpies back in front in the last term.
“There were moments in the game, but in big games you need big moments and our guys were able to produce them at the right time,” he said.
With it being a young Port side taking to the park every week, Lokan said his leaders, Trent McKenzie and captain Cam Sutcliffe (tagging Luke Partington) were able to stand up when it mattered.
“Partington’s a very good player and I thought his goal almost stole them the game at the end but Cam’s a fantastic leader for our young group, he did a really important job for us today and whether he won the battle or not is probably irrelevant but he did his job for our team,” Lokan said.
“Trent McKenzie was outstanding in the back line, Joel Garner did a job on Josh Scott and probably got him done in the end.
“Trent had 28 disposals and seven marks – it is a huge effort for your full back to have that much of the footy.”
Lokan was concerned about some umpiring decisions that went against his team throughout the match
“Minus nine (free kicks) it ended up at the end of the game,” he said.
“In my opinion it was a pretty good spectacle of a game and there were some things that left me scratching my head at the time but I can’t worry about the umpiring, it is out of my control.”