PORT ADELAIDE defender Jarrod Lienert was the unlikely hero as his side beat the Western Bulldogs by 10 points in a pulsating pre-season encounter in the Marsh Community Series.
In front of a good crowd at Whyalla’s redeveloped Bennett Oval, the Power came from 20-points down with nine minutes to play and overcame some injuries to key personnel to snatch victory and finish their pre-season campaign undefeated.
Lienert was the hero with two goals in the last minute, including one after the siren to seal a memorable come-from-behind win.
The Power started strongly when Tom Jonas won a holding the ball free kick and a protected area infringement saw him awarded a 50-metre penalty.
The skipper is not renowned for his goal scoring but he nailed the set shot from 20 metres to get his side off the mark.
From there the Bulldogs started to make use of a decent breeze with new recruit Josh Bruce looking dangerous in his first hit-out for the club.
The visitors slotted three goals in a row, including two to Bruce, to open up a ten-point lead before Zak Butters finished off a nice team play to bag his first.
The Power stayed in touch at the first break, trailing by five points when Justin Westhoff finished off a neat play which saw Sam Powell-Pepper’s persistence and Todd Marshall’s classy chip rewarded.
Despite having 15-more inside 50s in the opening term, the Dogs were unable to make the most of it on the scoreboard.
Things changed in the second quarter thanks to an impressive opening by Connor Rozee, playing on the ball, and Charlie Dixon, who was a huge presence in the forward line.
The big man booted two of the first three goals of the quarter – his second after a fumbled baulk and neat snap as the Power had its turn with the wind.
Dogs’ ruckman Tim English was equally as influential, handing off a goal to Sam Lloyd from a free kick before Rozee snapped late in the quarter to give his side a good break going into the main break.
A six goal to one third quarter had the game in the balance as the Bulldogs turned a 17-point half-time deficit into a 14-point lead going into the final quarter.
Bruce was again damaging, booting his fourth goal, while Lewis Young, Roarke Smith got their first majors and English and Lloyd their second.
The Power introduced Brad Ebert and Willem Drew in the third quarter as Scott Lycett (minor ankle injury) and Dan Houston were managed.
When Charlie Dixon limped off with a minor adductor strain the Power suddenly looked a lot shorter but Marshall stepped up, marking strongly over Alex Keath and nailing his second for the evening.
The absence of Lycett and Dixon saw Justin Westhoff toil manfully in the ruck, finishing the game with 17 hit-outs and collecting 22 disposals and six marks as well.
Lienert was introduced in the last quarter for the Power as the scoring dried up.
Even Robbie Gray marking on the lead on a tough angle couldn’t trouble the scorers in the difficult breeze.
It took 13 minutes for the deadlock to be broken with Lloyd getting his third to extend the lead to 20 points and it kicked the Power into gear as Xavier Duursma slotted nicely from a 45 metre set shot and Hamish Hartlett nailed a long bomb from outside 50 to bring the margin back to eight points.
When Mitch Georgiades leapt high and marked strongly, then booted his first goal for the club with less than five minutes to play, the margin was just two points, making for a nervy end to the contest.
It was then that Jarrod Lienert bobbed up in the goal square as the ball floated over the top of a pack to win the game in the last minute and keep the Power unbeaten in three pre-season games.
His second goal after the siren after marking inside 50 was the icing on the cake as Port Adelaide warmed up for the season in style.
|PORT ADELAIDE||3.3||8.8||9.11||14.11 (95)|
|WESTERN BULLDOGS||4.2||6.3||12.7||13.7 (85)|
Goals: Dixon, Marshall, Lienert 2, Jonas, Butters, Westhoff, Farrell, Rozee, Duursma, Hartlett, Georgiades
Best: Byrne-Jones, Powell-Pepper, Jonas, Boak, Westhoff
Injuries: Dixon (adductor), Lycett (ankle)
Crowd: 4,770 at Bennett Oval, Whyalla