PORT ADELAIDE has ended its time in the Queensland hub with a disappointing 37-point loss to Brisbane at the Gabba – the club’s first defeat of the season.
In one of the more anticipated games of the season so far, two of the competition’s highest scoring sides were facing off.
But playing away from Metricon Stadium for just the second time this season, Port was out-pressured and out-classed by a rampant Brisbane side in front of a healthy home crowd.
It was a hot opening with both sides playing a high-intensity, high-pressure brand of football.
Port Adelaide probably started the better but failed to make the most of its opportunities, kicking five behinds and one out on the full before Robbie Gray finally nailed his side’s first goal of the night after marking in the pocket.
By that point, the Lions had booted two majors of their own with Cam Rayner’s soccered effort in the goal square the pick of them.
Dan McStay was proving a handful for the Port defence, taking five first quarter marks and booting a goal as the home side held onto a one-point lead at the first break, despite Port having seven scoring shots to three.
The Lions turned the game on its head in the second term booting five straight goals on the back of manic pressure and a little bit of luck.
Two goals came directly as a result of what appeared very soft free kicks inside 50 and even when Port Adelaide finally found a goal, through a smart snap by Zak Butters, the home side was able to respond right on the half time siren with a clever snap along the ground by Cam McCarthy.
The Brisbane talls and its fast ball movement were causing Port all sorts of problems as the Lions took a very healthy 35-point lead into the main break and in doing so passed the highest score against Port this season.
The lead was extended to 43 points at the final change as the Lions picked up where they left off.
They had the first goal of the third term inside 30 seconds through McCarthy again before Hugh McCluggage nailed a clever snap.
Port worked its way back into the contest with consecutive goals through Connor Rozee, after a composed snap from 40 metres out, and Butters, after gut running to claim a courageous mark 30 metres out from goal.
But for all the visiting side’s effort, a late goal to Mitch Robinson running into an open goal had the margin almost out of reach.
Port fought hard as the final quarter went on with Todd Marshall getting his first goal after a strong mark and 50 metre penalty.
Tom Rockliff found a goal out of the congestion deep inside 50 to close the margin back to 31 points but Lachie Neale’s late goal after a 50-metre penalty sealed Port’s fate and a first loss for the season.
Travis Boak was impressive in a losing side, finishing with 25 disposals, six clearances and five tackles while last week’s hero, Charlie Dixon continued to be a presence but finished with two behinds after being well held by Harris Andrews.
It was Brisbane’s fourth straight win with the only sour point a game-ending injury in the first quarter to midfielder Cam Ellis-Yolmen.
The one positive for Port was that it remains ahead of the Lions at the top of the ladder thanks to superior percentage.
PORT ADELAIDE 1.6 2.7 4.10 6.12 (48)
BRISBANE 2.1 8.6 11.11 12.13 (79)
Butters 2, Gray, Rozee, Marshall, Rockliff
Boak, Houston, Butters, Jonas
Approx 10,000 at the Gabba, Brisbane