PORT ADELAIDE earned back-to-back wins with a gutsy 28-point victory over Carlton at the MCG on Saturday night.

Port led throughout the game and despite suffering some injuries and having some sore players, controlled the contest and got the result.

Here are some key things we learned from the game.

1) Contest leaders

Ken Hinkley has said his side plays best when it wins the contested ball. At 141-134 contested possessions it was a minor win for Port, which lost the clearances to the Blues 36-32 and inside 50s 57-48 despite the comfortable margin. Port is getting much of its drive from midfield leaders Ollie Wines and Travis Boak. Wines had a game-high 32 touches including 14 contested possessions on Saturday night while 17 of Boak’s 29 disposals were contested. The duo are ranked second and third respectively for contested possessions in the entire AFL with Wines racking up 74 and Boak 73 contested possessions in their five games. That’s an average of 14.8 for Wines and 14.6 for Boak per game. Only Melbourne’s Clayton Oliver is averaging more at a whopping 16.4 per game.

2) Functioning forward line

As identified, Port somehow controlled the game and dominated the scoreboard but lost the inside 50 count. Much of the credit can go to the forward line which functioned well and was remarkably accurate. 13 of Port Adelaide’s 15 goals came from its forwards with Mitch Georgiades and Robbie Gray booting three each, Orazio Fantasia and Charlie Dixon two and singles to Todd Marshall, Boyd Woodcock and Connor Rozee.

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Mark of the Week: Round 5 | PTV

Mitch Georgiades leaps above the pack in Round 5.

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3) Marshall back with a bang

Todd Marshall’s importance to the Port Adelaide side cannot always be measured in statistics but on Saturday night they gave a pretty good measure of how busy the young forward was. Playing a key role as a link player higher up the ground, Marshall had a career-high 19 disposals and a career-high nine marks. His 315 metres gained was important, as were his five score involvements and three intercepts. For good measure, the 22-year-old chipped in with a goal as well. Marshall was returning to play just his third game of the season after a back injury and rolled ankle kept him out of Rounds 2 and 4 respectively. After Saturday night’s game, coach Ken Hinkley mentioned he expected Marshall’s understanding with Charlie Dixon and Mitch Georgiades in the forward line to continue to improve as the tall trio plays together more. If nothing else, the thought of that is enough to cause a few headaches for opposition backlines.

4) Port gives Carlton the Blues

All the talk in the lead in to Saturday night’s game was about the 2020 heart stopper between Carlton and Port Adelaide played up at the Gabba. The memorable encounter saw Robbie Gray kick a goal after the siren to claim the points for Port. Saturday night’s game was a very different contest with Port Adelaide eventually breaking away in the third quarter and finishing comfortably in front. It was a fifth straight win for the Power against the Blues, dating back to Carlton’s last win in May 2016. The streak mirrors a five-game winning streak Port had over Carlton between April 2002 and July 2004, although in all it was an eight-game unbeaten run which included a draw. Carlton has also won five in-a-row against Port between June 2008 and June 2011.

Tom Rockliff racked up an impressive 41 touches and seven clearances against the Panthers.

5) The Pig was hungry!

Tom Rockliff hasn’t had a lot of luck in 2021 so far. He started the season as the AFL medical sub, sitting out the entire game in Round 2 before being sent to the SANFL to get some game time. A head knock saw him concussed and having to undertake a mandatory 12-day rest period. Finally, a chance to play on Saturday in SANFL Round 3 action and wasn’t he happy!

Like the ball magnet Tom Rockliff we know, he racked up plenty of possession with 22 by half time and 41 by the time the game ended. It wasn’t all cheap possession either – the experienced midfielder also had six tackles and a game-high seven clearances. Rockliff will next be sniffing around for a spot back in the AFL side.