Eagles succumb to slick Port

There was an equal dose of encouragement, work to do and signs of a developing game plan as the West Coast Eagles were ultimately out-played by Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval today.

In the end Port were physically too strong and composed as they showed the Eagles how far they must evolve to compete against the best teams in the competition.

Port were superior with their skills, more methodical in transition and often found players in meters of space deep forward. The Power’s inaccuracy at times kept the opposition in the contest, but the Eagles stuck to the task and lived up to their mantra of staying in contests longer.

After a bright start when midfielder Tim Kelly and teenage debutant Harley Reid started strongly the Eagles could not stay with the slick and experienced Port midfield.

They got much out of their stars with new captain Connor Rozee, Zac Butters and Jason Horne-Francis consistently propelled the ball forward where Charlie Dixon was a constant menace for the Eagles defence.

Conversely the Eagles struggled to get the ball rolling with any momentum and life was difficult for their key forwards. Jack Darling and Oscar Allen both struggled to impact the scoreboard.

Vice-captain Jeremy McGovern was rock solid in defence along with Tom Cole while Jack Petruccelle was lively in attack finishing with three goals, Liam Duggan provided strong run through the middle and Jayden Hunt played with trademark dash and dare.

After hanging in gamely and trailing by 32 points at the last change it was one-way traffic in the last quarter and could have been much worse had the Power taken their opportunities in front of goal.

Port enjoyed a distinct inside 50 advantage, were miserly in defence and were better around the contest. Save for their missed chances in front of goal their skill execution was also superior.   

Port Adelaide                   3.6         8.10       11.15     16.24    120
West Coast Eagles           3.1         5.3         7.7        10.10     70

Goals – Port Adelaide: Dixon 3; Farrell, Horne-Francis, Soldo, Drew, Rozee 2; Byrne-Jones, Rioli, Butters. West Coast Eagles: Petruccelle 3; Waterman 2; Williams, Cripps, Duggan, Darling, Chesser
Best – Port Adelaide: Rozee, Butters, Dixon, Aliir, Horne-Francis, West Coast Eagles: McGovern, Duggan, Williams, Petruccelle, Hunt, Reid.
Crowd – 34,078 at Adelaide Oval.

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