Sports

Port Adelaide Power demolish West Coast Eagles at Adelaide Oval


As bad as the Eagles were last week against Sydney, they were even worse on Saturday.

Their annus horribilis continued and their dark day was further soured when Elliott Yeo subbed off with concussion after a head clash with Power ruckman Sam Hayes.

Alex Witherden was prolific, particularly early, and Tim Kelly – quiet in the Swans defeat – flew the flag single-handedly for West Coast’s battered midfield, but the visitors had very few winners.

Todd Marshall of the Power marks the ball from Alex Witherden of the Eagles.

Todd Marshall of the Power marks the ball from Alex Witherden of the Eagles. Credit:Getty Images

“Nowhere near the standard at the moment,” Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.

“Our ability to sustain effort, intensity and work rates isn’t there at the moment.

“A lot of our issues are around stoppages and not being able to keep it in our front half as well.

“The season’s well and truly slipping away.”

Port’s second stanza, admittedly against feeble and dispirited opposition, was champagne.

Tim Kelly, right, and Darcy Byrne-Jones, left, in action during round six.

Tim Kelly, right, and Darcy Byrne-Jones, left, in action during round six. Credit:Getty Images

Gray, well held by Jackson Nelson, goaled over his shoulder with his belated first kick early in the quarter while Kane Farrell, in his first AFL game back since rupturing his ACL last July, intercepted Shannon Hurn’s hurried hack out of defence and curled through a pearler.

Marshall flushed a set shot from outside 50 metres, got on the end of an end-to-end chain and then plucked a left-handed mark against Witherden before nonchalantly kicking around the corner for his third of the term.

Marshall’s three-goal second quarter was matched by Jeremy Finlayson’s third-term hat-trick as Port stretched their decisive 43-point half-time buffer to an unassailable 60 at three-quarter-time.

Josh Kennedy and Willie Rioli were virtually unsighted, not at all helped by West Coast’s poor delivery as the likes of Luke Shuey and Xavier O’Neill were maimed in the clinches.

The Eagles’ first goal came at the 46-second mark of the match – they were forced to wait until the third minute of the final quarter for their next major.

After conceding a couple more, Port reasserted themselves, vehemently.

Finlayson jagged his fifth, Wines slotted his first of the season – in his first game back from heart palpitations – and Marshall marked majestically and kicked his fifth, to match his career-best haul set in the Showdown three weeks ago.

Port’s flickering finals aspirations remain alive, just.

“We took a step forward, which clearly we were trying to achieve,” Hinkley said.

“We knew where we were at, and we stuck to the task. We’ve been in a pretty challenging spot for a good period of time.

“Everyone stuck together.”

EAGLES FALSE DAWN
The Eagles’ start was electric.

With virtually the first play of the afternoon, Kelly’s driving clearance out of the centre found Liam Ryan for a diving mark, who then spotted Jamie Cripps up on the lead in front of Darcy Byrne-Jones.

Cripps converted skilfully around the corner and the Eagles were away. Their dream start descended, swiftly and compellingly, into an absolute nightmare.

BEST
Port Adelaide: Rozee, Marshall, Finlayson, Houston, Wines, Boak, Drew, Powell-Pepper.
West Coast: Kelly, Witherden, Hurn.



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