PLENTY has changed the football world in the last year – and that’s before taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Port Adelaide risked a move to Marvel Stadium in the penultimate round last season and kidnapped a mighty hiding place from the North Melbourne team enjoying a renaissance under new coach Rice Shaw.
POWER SURGE A GAME Clear coverage and complete stats for the match
The Force returned the favor after barely 12 months, albeit comfortably or surely, as it came close to shutting down the small premiership.
They set their rivals away with four goals in the first quarter and five others in a row in the third period to finally score a victory of 11.12 (78) to the 6.6 (42) which was set apart.
As for Shaw’s Roos, they have now lost six games in a row and 12 out of 13 since beating Greater Western Sydney in the first game after the season was suspended.
North started well and ended the same way, but the latest Travis Boak star led Port Adelaide’s 12th victory of the season which ensured he entered the finals with confidence.
Boak (34 kicks, nine passes) was not alone, with the midfield winning beating rams Ole Wayne (30, seven) and Tom Rockleaf (31, nine tackles) also winning Mount Shirin in the middle.
Bauer won a midfield clearance 15-3, with Scott Lisette also ahead of the shock match with Todd Goldstein, who had been brilliant in the face-to-face last year.
The only preoccupation for Port’s exit from the competition would be high Zach Butters beating JS Simpkin in the third quarter, which banished the kangaroos for the rest of the night.
There’s still little admiration for Shaw, who talks about looking for “small wins” during the week.
Outstanding midfielder Luke Davies-Uniacke has certainly handled one of these, winning 16 contested possessions out of 23 deals.
Ben McKay also did a great job in Power striker Charlie Dickson, while Jade Anderson (24, six tackles) and Robbie Tarrant (20, 10 interceptor possessions) were fine as well.
Lightning strike ends Lil Simpkin
North Melbourne lost the G Simpkin Championship Forever in the third quarter after receiving a fast-paced high hit by Zach Putters. Simpkin kisses a Luke Davies-Uniacke handball, swirls around and spurs butter through it, collecting it in the head with his shoulder. Some graphical vision ensued, with an amazing Simpkin then collapsing to the ground. He jumped, although he looked with glassy eyes, and shrugged Roos’ coaches, including Jona Segal, for a while before finally going to the bench. The 22-year-old club medic was excluded from night vision and confirmed shortly after he had suffered a concussion. As for Butters, one of the best Port Adelaide players this season, he can expect to spend some vacation time. Bauer lost vulnerable defender Ryan Burton due to a quadriceps problem a quarter of the time.
Shades of existence?
Stay with me here. Luke Davis-Onyaki slammed Zach Butters’ handball and shot it mid-back in the last minute of the opening quarter. He took off from midfield and left his Port Adelaide rivals, including Dan Houston, before sending a handball to Jack Zebel. Not having the pace of Brownlow double medalist Chris Judd – how many are there? But the way he arched his back and placed it on the stove had some similarities to the retired West Coast and the great Carlton. At this point, this and the fact that they were among the top five in picking the draft is basically all that Davies-Uniacke has in common with Judd, but kangaroo fans are hoping he’ll land their midfield over the next decade. Saturday night’s match was another step in the right direction.
Just two veterans in deep discussion
Notable couple Ruby Gray and Jack Zebel had a direct, but amicable interaction after the break after a physical struggle just before that. North Melbourne teammate Nick Larkey got a free kick, but Sherine bounced away and Zebel gently threw Gray. Zebel then kept following the ball, only to be thrown by Gray to the ground. The conversation started there, with Ziebell defending his original bump and even showing how he performed, but it looks like neither of them budged before Ziebell gave off a sarcastic smile. It’s good fun between two veteran warriors who meet in 449 games worth trying.
North Melbourne 1.2 2.2 4.4 6.6 (42)
Port Adelaide 4.2 4.5 10.8 11.12 (78)
North Melbourne: Goldstein, Zurhar, Larkey, Hall, Walker, Wood
Adelaide Port: Dickson 2, Wine 2, Mutlope, Butter, Amon, Gray, Rosy, Bok, Paul Pepper
North Melbourne: Davies Uniaqui, Tarrant, Anderson, McKay, Higgins, MacDonald
Adelaide Port: Boak, Wine, Lisette, Rockleaf, Burn Jones, Powell Pepper, Butter
North Melbourne: Simpkin (concussion)
Adelaide Port: Burton (quadriceps)
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