|Brownlow Medal||3 Robbie Gray (PORT)||2 Jared Polec (PORT)||1 Jake Carlisle (STK)|
In a thrilling contest at the Adelaide Oval, Port Adelaide has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat to overcome St Kilda by two points with virtually the last kick of the day. Trailing by four points with only 19 seconds on the clock, a boundary throw-in on Port's half-forward line saw Patrick Ryder find a running Robbie Gray with a beautiful over-the-back tap-out. Without breaking stride ran in towards goal and from 49 metres, kicked truly to put the Power in front. There were seven seconds remaining when the ball was bounced in the centre, but the Saints were unable to get a clearance, and Port hung on for a memorable win.
Despite the fact that Port snatched the win, the Power had in fact led for a large part of the match, and it was only a run of four consecutive goals that saw the Saints grab the lead late in the final quarter. However, one of the main reasons St Kilda had indeed trailed for much of the game was due to poor kicking in front of goal, something the Saints only rectified in the final term. Ultimately, a case could be made for both sides as being deserving winners.
The game began with rain falling heavily, and as a result the first term - and indeed much of the match - was a low-scoring affair. After 10 minutes had elapsed, each side only had 0.1 on the board, St Kilda's behind kicked by Josh Bruce and Port's rushed. Jack Lonie broke through for the first goal of the match at the 12-minute mark, his major giving the Saints a six-point lead after he received a free kick for a high tackle. That looked like being the only goal of the quarter until the Power kicked two in a minute through Justin Westhoff and Karl Amon to grab a six-point quarter-time lead.
Goals were even rarer in the second term than they had been in the first. The only score in the first 12 minutes of the quarter was a behind to the Power's Jackson Trengove, with a snap from his teammate Jarman Impey the first goal of the quarter giving Port a lead of 13 points at the 13-minute mark. The Saints then wasted several chances in front of goal, kicking four behinds in a row. Port responded with a behind of their own, St Kilda then adding another minor score before Tim Membrey gave the visitors their only major of the quarter at the 28-minute mark, the Power ahead by three points at the long break.
An early third-quarter goal to Jared Polec gave Port a nine-point advantage and also hope of a higher-scoring term but that hope proved to be false, mainly because St Kilda's inaccuracy continued. Jade Gresham missed two shots and Seb Ross and Bruce one each while the Power added two behinds of their own, and at the 24-minute mark, the Power led 4.7 to 2.12. A crumbing goal to Trengove extended Port's lead to 13 points after 25 minutes but the Saints finally broke through for a goal to Blake Acres right on the three-quarter time siren and they were back in touch, trailing by only seven points at the final break.
Port looked to have the match in its keeping when Charlie Dixon took a string mark and goaled at the five-minute mark but a mark and goal to Membrey kept St Kilda in touch, seven points adrift after seven minutes. A turnover from the Saints saw Brad Ebert kick his first to increase the Power's lead to 14 points after 12 minutes but a goal to Gresham two minutes later after a great long run from teammate Shane Savage sparked a sudden turnaround. Over the next 14 minutes St Kilda added three more goals - as many as it had kicked in the first three terms - through Jack Sinclair, Luke Dunstan and Membrey to suddenly lead by 10 points.
The Saints held that lead and looked winners until Aaron Young snapped a goal to bring the margin back to four points with 56 seconds left on the clock. From there the Power attacked again, the final boundary-line throw in providing the climactic finish featuring Ryder's masterful tap-out and Gray's goal to give the home side victory in the most dramatic of circumstances - a win for the ages, and one that could be the difference between making and missing the top four.
The last-minute match-winning manoeuvre from Ryder and Gray capped off great games for both of them, Ryder having 45 hitouts to go with 15 disposals and Gray collecting 27 disposals and taking five marks. Jared Polec (30 possessions, six marks) also played a fine match for Port. The Saints were well served in the narrow defeat by Luke Dunstan (27 touches, eight tackles) and Membrey, who finished with three of his side's eight goals.
Port remains a top-four chance on the back of the narrow win, and a win over crosstown rivals Adelaide, in what promises to be another enthralling showdown on Sunday, could see the Power sneak back into the top four as early as next weekend. For St Kilda, the heartbreaking loss could prove extremely costly. The Saints are now a game plus nine percentage points out of the eight with four games remaining. The first of those will be a home encounter against the eighth team - West Coast - at Docklands on Sunday. A win for the Saints would see the two sides level on 10 wins, the percentage gap potentially greatly narrowed depending on the size of the victory.
Port Adelaide: Westhoff, Amon, Impey, Polec, Trengove, Dixon, Ebert, Young, R Gray
St. Kilda: Membrey 3; Lonie, Acres, Gresham, Sinclair, Dunstan
BEST - AFL.COM.AU
Port Adelaide: R Gray, Wines, Hartlett, Ryder, Byrne-Jones, Jonas
St. Kilda: Dunstan, Carlisle, Ross, Roberton, Acres
BEST - THE AGE
Port Adelaide: Ryder, Polec, R Gray, Byrne-Jones, Wines, Pittard
St Kilda: Membrey, Roberton,White. Ross, Dunstan, Webster
Port Adelaide: Nil
St. Kilda: Nil
UMPIRES: Stephens, Kamolins, Findlay
TELEVISION BROADCAST: Fox Footy
COMMENTATORS: Adam Papalia, Mark Ricciuto, David King, Ben Dixon
|Port Adelaide||Match Stats||Career|
|15||Amon, Karl||17||6||3||20||1||0||0||0||1||0||21y 344d||31||20|
|1||Boak, Travis||6||3||7||13||0||0||0||2||0||1||28y 362d||216||139|
|5||Broadbent, Matthew||8||2||4||12||0||0||0||1||1||2||26y 362d||161||52|
|33||Byrne-Jones, Darcy||13||7||2||15||0||0||0||5||2||0||21y 312d||38||4|
|17||Clurey, Tom||8||5||3||11||0||0||0||2||0||2||23y 128d||36||0|
|22||Dixon, Charlie||9||7||5||14||1||1||0||3||1||3||26y 309d||101||159|
|7||Ebert, Brad||10||2||4||14||1||0||0||5||1||0||27y 118d||208||107|
|9||Gray, Robbie||15||5||12||27||1||1||0||3||1||2||29y 121d||173||252|
|46||Gray, Sam||12||3||2||14||0||0||0||2||2||0||25y 178d||52||31|
|8||Hartlett, Hamish||12||7||7||19||0||0||0||3||0||2||26y 349d||143||73|
|36||Hombsch, Jack||7||2||2||9||0||0||0||3||3||0||24y 144d||83||0|
|24||Impey, Jarman||8||5||1||9||1||1||0||4||2||1||22y 20d||72||33|
|42||Jonas, Tom||12||5||2||14||0||0||0||3||0||0||26y 201d||100||1|
|29||Pittard, Jasper||15||5||9||24||0||0||0||3||1||0||26y 119d||111||11|
|21||Polec, Jared||18||6||12||30||1||0||0||3||0||2||24y 290d||79||43|
|2||Powell-Pepper, Sam||7||1||3||10||0||0||0||9||0||4||19y 202d||18||15|
|4||Ryder, Paddy||11||4||4||15||0||0||45||0||0||1||29y 137d||205||143|
|12||Trengove, Jackson||9||2||5||14||1||1||6||2||0||4||26y 269d||152||30|
|39||Westhoff, Justin||6||1||5||11||1||1||0||4||1||2||30y 301d||221||265|
|19||White, Matthew||4||2||5||9||0||0||0||3||1||0||30y 105d||153||98|
|16||Wines, Ollie||15||1||8||23||0||1||0||6||2||2||22y 295d||102||48|
|11||Young, Aaron||8||2||4||12||1||0||0||6||0||0||24y 235d||75||62|
|St. Kilda||Match Stats||Career|
|8||Acres, Blake||7||2||15||22||1||0||0||2||0||1||21y 295d||40||17|
|15||Billings, Jack||9||2||10||19||0||2||0||6||3||0||21y 345d||60||44|
|22||Brown, Nathan||1||0||3||4||0||0||0||3||0||2||28y 224d||148||7|
|27||Bruce, Josh||7||6||4||11||0||3||1||1||2||2||25y 51d||84||124|
|2||Carlisle, Jake||10||8||6||16||0||0||0||2||0||0||25y 301d||103||59|
|7||Dunstan, Luke||18||4||9||27||1||0||0||8||0||2||22y 181d||65||33|
|14||Geary, Jarryn||7||1||5||12||0||0||0||0||1||0||29y 36d||159||25|
|4||Gresham, Jade||6||1||1||7||1||2||0||5||1||1||19y 339d||36||33|
|18||Longer, Billy||0||0||5||5||0||0||32||8||3||1||24y 78d||56||3|
|13||Lonie, Jack||6||1||2||8||1||1||0||4||5||1||20y 350d||38||28|
|36||McKenzie, Daniel||7||0||6||13||0||0||0||2||1||2||21y 73d||21||2|
|28||Membrey, Tim||7||4||3||10||3||0||0||0||2||0||23y 64d||46||82|
|16||Newnes, Jack||7||3||12||19||0||0||0||5||4||1||24y 155d||109||31|
|17||Roberton, Dylan||18||4||6||24||0||0||0||0||1||1||26y 38d||120||19|
|6||Ross, Sebastian||16||3||15||31||0||1||0||6||0||1||24y 83d||77||12|
|5||Savage, Shane||16||3||5||21||0||0||0||0||1||0||26y 205d||119||55|
|35||Sinclair, Jack||13||5||8||21||1||1||0||6||1||0||22y 167d||40||26|
|9||Steele, Jack||9||2||13||22||0||1||0||7||0||3||21y 228d||33||12|
|3||Steven, Jack||9||3||13||22||0||0||0||5||0||0||27y 123d||150||94|
|29||Webster, Jimmy||10||4||12||22||0||0||0||3||1||0||24y 31d||64||2|
|44||Weller, Maverick||5||2||5||10||0||0||0||2||1||1||25y 166d||104||51|
|31||White, Brandon||10||4||3||13||0||0||0||0||1||0||20y 197d||2||1|