PORT Adelaide’s finals hopes are still alive after storming home against West Adelaide, beating the Bloods at Richmond Oval by 73 points.
The win was the side’s first consecutive victory this year and has it knocking on the door of the top five on the SANFL ladder.
The rain held off, but it was raining goals for Luke Reynolds, who booted eight – three more than his season-high of five, which he scored against North Adelaide earlier in the season.
A strong second quarter, where the Magpies held the Bloods goalless until late in the term and booted four unanswered goals, set up the win.
Despite contending with a 36 point half-time deficit, West Adelaide attempted a come-back in the third, kicking three quick goals to bring the margin to 25 points.
The Magpies steadied with Reynolds third midway through the term and never really looked in doubt from then on.
Sam Gray, (37 disposals, nine clearances), Jimmy Toumpas and Steve Summerton (26 disposals apiece) were best afield for the Magpies.
Nathan Rudloff and Paul Stewart also produced strong performances in the backline, combining for 12 defensive rebounds.
Port Adelaide returns to Alberton Oval on Sunday July 17 for its round 16 clash against last year’s grand finalists, Woodville-West Torrens.
As it happened
It took 12 minutes for a goal to be scored in the opening term and it came from Sam Gray, who banged the ball onto the boot from just inside 50.
Before Gray’s goal, however, both sides had trouble finding the big sticks.
Six points were scored – five from West Adelaide and one from Port.
Despite dominating disposal early, West went man-on-man, giving Port no space and the Magpies found it hard to find a clear target.
A few decision-making mistakes deep in defence for Port then led to Noble kicking the Bloods' first goal.
From then on it was all Port Adelaide.
Reynolds put Port back in front with his first goal.
Less than a minute later , he managed to add another major to his name after capitalising on an intercept from Tom Gray inside 50.
A mark and a goal from Jesse Palmer had Port lead by 17 points at the first break.
Skipper Steve Summerton got Port off to the perfect start to extend its quarter time lead with a goal under a minute into the quarter.
The captain’s major was the first of four unanswered goals for the black and white, as they kept the home side goalless until 20 minutes gone.
Through Sam Gray and Louis Sharrad’s work at the stoppages – the pair racked up five clearances between them by the end of the quarter – Port enjoyed a goal blitz.
The Magpies’ quick ball movement going into attack was hard for West to halt.
Reynolds was on fire up-forward with three goals to his name by half time.
Tom Gray and Jesse Palmer also got in on the action inside 50 and the margin blew out to 42 points.
West Adelaide’s first goal for the quarter came from John Noble, who had scored their only goal in the first quarter.
The late Bloods’ goal gave Port a 36-point half time lead.
After a slow start, John Butcher found his way into the game, and booted his first for the afternoon thanks to a spearing pass from Sam Gray.
But the tables soon turned and the Bloods dominated for the next 10 minutes.
Port were beaten at the stoppages and West was able to move the ball freely through the middle.
A goal from close to the boundary line from Brett Turner was quickly followed by two more - one to Shannon Green and another to Christopher Burgess - and suddenly, the margin was just 25 points.
The Bloods, however, were unable to push the scoreboard much more in their favour thanks to a relatively inaccurate forward line during their period of domination.
Reynolds gave the black and white the response it needed and steadied with his fourth goal.
Goals to Butcher and Palmer extended the lead to 34 points at three quarter time.
The Magpies found another gear this quarter thanks to the hard work of Sam Gray, Jimmy Toumpas, Steve Summerton and Billy Frampton at the stoppages.
The midfield brigade were tough inside the contest and used the ball with precision going inside 50.
Port booted seven goals in the fourth term - five of those majors belonged to Luke Reynolds who proved a problem which West couldn't answer.
On the occasions the ball did go inside the home side's forward line, the ball was hurriedly kicked in due to the immense pressure of Port's defence.
Port held the Bloods to just 1.3 and claimed its second win on the trot with a 73 point victory.
Port Adelaide 4.4 8.8 12.9 19.15 (129) def.
West Adelaide 1.5 2.8 6.11 7.14 (56)
S Gray, T Gray, Reynolds, Frampton, Toumpas, Summerton
Goals: Reynolds 8, Palmer 3, Butcher, Summerton 2, S Gray, T Gray, Toumpas, Houston