PORT ADELAIDE fielded a young SANFL team to face the ladder-leading Adelaide in Port Pirie on Saturday and enjoyed the bus ride home after claiming a 30-point win.
The Magpies have now won five matches in a row to move within one victory of the Crows and coach Matthew Lokan said he was very proud of his young group.
“We were wrapped with our performance today,” he said.
“We had a relatively young group in today and they stood up in a big game, we treated today like a finals game and to be able to get the win was really pleasing.”
Without Paddy Ryder, Sam Powell-Pepper and captain Cam Sutcliffe the likes of Matthew Broadbent, Billy Frampton, Boyd Woodcock, Jack Strange and Matt Appleton stood up against a battle-hardened Adelaide squad.
Woodcock kicked four goals and Frampton dominated in a six-goal, eight-mark game, including a goal in the opening seconds of the match.
“The start was important, Billy took that mark straight away which set the tone for the game, but Adelaide fought back to their credit, they have a lot of really good players and Bryce Gibbs got his hands on it through the midfield,” Lokan said.
“Billy has been really consistent for us over the last month or so and to kick six goals for us against the ladder leaders is a good effort from Bill.”
Matt Broadbent had 38 disposals and an incredible 17 marks across half back.
Lokan praised the efforts of his young midfield group who went head to head against Bryce Gibbs and Sam Jacobs who have a combined 459 AFL games.
“It is exciting, you look at our midfield and at times it was Cam Hewett, Willem Drew and Joe Atley with Sam Hayes in the ruck,” he said.
“That is the future of our club going forward and it was pleasing to see them stand up.”
Port have another challenge next week, playing against second placed Glenelg at Alberton Oval on Sunday.