PORT ADELAIDE returned to the winners’ list after beating Gold Coast by 50 points at Metricon Stadium on Saturday.
Connor Rozee booted three goals and Charlie Dixon, Mitch Georgiades and Steven Motlop each had two as Port recorded its ninth win of the season.
Here are some key things we learned from the game.
1) Defence doing well.
Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley put it on the agenda recently that his team has not played a full four-quarter game. His defence on Saturday must have come pretty close. The Suns booted the first goal of the game through Ben King but would only kick three more for the rest of the game – two in the last quarter. Port’s defence is ranked fourth for total score conceded, despite the side suffering heavy defeats against Brisbane and West Coast, and conceding in excess of 100 points last week against Geelong. It has been a remarkable showing from a backline that has featured 14 different players due to injuries and form. Just four of those players have played every game. Trent McKenzie had to wait until Round 10 and an injury to Tom Clurey to find his way into the team, and then slotted in seamlessly. Another example is Jarrod Lienert, who in just his 19th career game and first of 2021, featured on Saturday finishing with 20 disposals, four marks and 358 metres gained in a strong first-up showing. He even chipped in with his first career goal… and what a goal it was!
2) Robbie Gray is universally loved
It was not the 250th game Robbie Gray would have wanted given he played less than half the game after suffering a knee injury. But the commentary around him and his contribution to Port Adelaide and the game of Australian Rules Football shows how many admirers he has. While debate will continue to rage as to where Gray sits in terms of Port Adelaide’s greatest AFL players, there is no doubt he is loved by supporters and his teammates alike.
5??x Showdown Medals— AFL (@AFL) June 18, 2021
3??x John Cahill Medals
2??x @PAFC leading goalkicker
1??x Robbie Gray
Hear from the Power champion's teammates on what makes him great ahead of his 250th AFL match pic.twitter.com/3YDmh4Rm1J
3) Wines can win the ball
He fell just short of claiming the club’s AFL record for total disposals in a single game, but Ollie Wines gave it a good shake. Finishing with 43 disposals, you might think there were a few cheap handballs to make the numbers look better. A closer look at those disposals shows a career-high 24 kicks and 19 handballs with a total of 699 metres gained. He did the dirty work too, grabbing six tackles and five intercepts to go with five clearances and six score involvements. Busy. For the record, Peter Burgoyne holds the record with a whopping 45 touches against North Melbourne in 2008, with Tom Rockliff's 44 possessions against Melbourne in 2019 a close second.
4) Motlop magic
Steven Motlop was at his damaging best on Saturday against the Suns. With ball in hand he repeatedly found a target, leading to a game-high 10 score involvements. The next best had seven. His ability to cover the ground and willingness to run hard to help with the transition from defence to attack was a feature of his performance. He finished with 26 disposals, nine marks and two goals, plus he handed one off to Jarrod Lienert for his first career goal. There is no doubt Port’s sometimes inefficient kicking into attack looks a lot more efficient when the ball is in Motlop’s hands.
5) Boak to claim more than Kane’s games record….
All eyes have been on Travis Boak as he closes in on 300 games and Kane Cornes’ club games record. If he plays every game, Boak is on track to play game 300 against Collingwood in Round 19 and game 301 a week later. But stats guru @sirswampthing has pointed out that Boak could break another of Cornes’ club records in the coming weeks. Cornes enjoyed 151 victories playing for Port Adelaide in his 15-year career, finishing with a 50.67 per-cent winning rate. Boak has currently had 150 wins in Port Adelaide colours with a winning rate of 51.02 per-cent. A win over Sydney this week will see Boak draw level with Cornes for wins.