PORT ADELAIDE’s unbeaten start to 2020 came to an end against Brisbane on Saturday night.
The Lions proved too strong to the tune of 37-points at the Gabba, making it three wins in a row against Port.
Here are some key things we learned from the game.
1) Pressure on Port’s possession.
Heading into the game Port Adelaide had recorded on average 29 more marks per game than its opposition, which was the biggest differential in the AFL this season. On Saturday night the Lions had 71 marks to 49, reversing the trend. Previously Port’s average was 86 marks per game in 2020, including 12.5 inside 50 per game. The visitors only managed four marks inside 50 against the Lions at the Gabba. Brisbane controlled the ball in large periods, having 47% time in possession to Port’s 33%.
2) What could have been.
“We were doing really well in the first quarter, clearly didn’t get enough scoreboard pressure on and we missed some opportunities.” That was Ken Hinkley’s analysis of the first quarter and he was right about the lack of scoreboard pressure. His side had eight shots on goal to four yet managed 1.6 and one out on the full. The Lions in contrast made the most of their opportunities booting 2.1 and one that failed to register a score. At that point Port had been well on top but the Lions came out with five goals in eight second quarter minutes to take hold of the game, and were never headed.
3) Boak is a beauty
He is one of only two players to poll votes from the coaches for the AFLCA player of the year award in the opening four games along with Lachie Neale and based on his performance on Saturday night he should poll again this week. The former skipper was almost alone as a composed presence in the midfield, able to deal with the pressure Brisbane applied while most couldn’t. The reigning best and fairest finished with 26 disposals, five tackles and six clearances and was involved in two goals including in this passage of play that led to a goal to Zak Butters.
4) Rozee has a nose for goal
He could not replicate his efforts from Round 3 last season at the Gabba when he booted 5.2 and had 21 disposals, but Connor Rozee still showed his nose for goal with a classy finish in the third quarter against the Lions on Saturday night. The 20-year-old showed clean hands off a pack after a long ball inside 50. He assessed the options before wheeling around on his right foot past an opponent and snapping a 40-metre effort around the body to kick start a mini revival of sorts. It was the first time in the game that Port had kicked back to back goals. His effort won him Port Adelaide’s goal of the week.
5) We’re still top…
Despite being outplayed and physically dominated, and despite losing the game by 37-points, Port Adelaide remains on top of the AFL ladder – the position it has held since the Round 1 win over Gold Coast way back in March. And despite conceding its highest score of 12.13 (85), well over the 36.5 points it was averaging, Port Adelaide has maintained its position in the top echelon of miserly defences, having conceded just one point more than first ranked Essendon which has played one less game. Port’s attack too is ranked second, despite managing just 6.12 (48) – its lowest score of the season. Port has kicked one less point than top ranked Geelong, so it isn’t all bad.