By ZAC MILBANK
Port Adelaide powered past Woodville-West Torrens with a strong second half to record a comfortable 37-point win at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval on Saturday.
Seeking to go ahead on the win-loss ledger, the Magpies did exactly that with a difference-making third term which saw them increase their nine-point half-time lead to a commanding 25 at the final change.
And by the time two of the most influential players on the ground – Port’s Jack Trengove and Billy Frampton – booted goals five minutes into the fourth quarter, the visitors were well on the way to earning a 3-2 win-loss count.
Making the most of having an extra rotation for the majority of the final three terms when Eagles defender Joe Heinjus injured his ankle five minutes into the second stanza, Matt Lokan’s men were well led by Trengove, who was again superb in the middle of the ground.
Now the outright leader in the SANFL Digital Pass Player of the Year award, the former Melbourne skipper finished with 31 disposals, eight marks, eight tackles, five clearances and two goals while also setting up numerous other scoring opportunities for his team-mates.
Emerging ruckman Peter Ladhams (pictured above celebrating his first term goal) continued his surge in form to collect 27 disposals, nine marks and 22 hit outs as he proved his work-rate was still strong with a fantastic tackle in the dying minutes of the game.
Spending the past two weeks on the sidelines after accepting an early guilty plea from the SANFL Match Review Panel for striking Joel Cross in Round 2, Port forward Billy Frampton made the most of his chances to boot five goals while also clunking eight marks deep inside 50m.
Left-footed Magpie Karl Amon was particularly constructive in the first half while 19-year-old defender Joel Garner continues to display defensive promise while also booting a fine snap goal from 40m out midway through the third term.
With Heinjus sidelined, the Eagles found the going tough, regularly looking heavy in the legs as they struggled to present with marking targets further up the ground.
Aside from hard-working forward Jack Hayes, the hosts had very little to kick to as James Rowe did his best to keep the ball in the area while also finishing with a team-high four goals.
And the Eagles – who also had Jake Johansen sporting an ice pack on his shoulder after the final siren – suddenly find themselves in unusual territory with a 1-4 win-loss record.
It was their fourth consecutive loss since opening the season with a win against North Adelaide, the first time since Rounds 14 to 17 in 2014 they have lost four matches in a row.
They will now face a resurgent Glenelg at ACH Group Stadium in Round 6 while the Pies will tackle Central at Alberton next Saturday.
PORT 3.1 6.3 11.4 16.6 (102)
EAGLES 2.4 4.6 6.9 9.11 (65)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Port: Trengove 31, Atley 30, Ladhams 27, Mayes 24, Broadbent 22, Amon 21, Farrell, Motlop 18, Garner, Pudney 17.
Eagles: Lonergan 20, Petrenko, Sinor 19, Hall 17, Rowland 16, J. Hayes, Haylock, Sharrad, Von Bertouch 15.
GOALS – Port: Frampton 5, Davidson 3, Motlop, Trengove 2, Amon, Farrell, Garner, Ladhams.
Eagles: Rowe 4, J. Hayes, Poole 2, Johansen.
Adelaide bolted out of the blocks to blast Central District out of the contest before cruising to a 35-point win at X Convenience Oval on Saturday.
Keeping the Bulldogs to just one behind in the first term, the Crows then hit the accelerator in the second stanza as they rammed home eight goals en route to a match-defining 48 points lead at half-time.
While Heath Younie’s charges could manage just two behinds in the third quarter, they were able to ease across the line with a comfortable victory, a far cry from last round’s dramatic draw against South Adelaide.
The key performance indicators were strongly in favour of the Crows early in the match, boasting a 12-3 inside 50m advantage with three goals on the board within the opening 20 minutes.
And one of those three majors was to former Sturt forward Shane McAdam, who booted his new team’s first of the day in his first game for the year after being set back by a calf complaint.
Adelaide captain Matt Wright – who tallied 22 disposals and two goals for the afternoon – put the margin out to a game-high 50 points when he kicked truly 20 minutes into the second term as the Bulldogs struggled to get out of second gear.
The positives were plentiful for the visitors, who had Patrick Wilson rack up 30 disposals and first-year draftee Ned McHenry finish with 28 touches, 11 tackles and a goal.
Millicent premiership player Tom Hutchesson continues to impress at Statewide Super League level, this time collecting a career-high 26 disposals and eight marks while veteran defender Andy Otten registered 27 possessions and 12 marks.
But with all eyes on star forward Josh Jenkins, the Crows’ No.4 improved his output from Round 4 against the Panthers, this time booting three goals to go with his 18 disposals and seven marks.
Determined to honour 100-gamer Travis Schiller in front of their home crowd, the Bulldogs did anything but as the younger Schiller sibling did everything in his power to lift his side, finishing with a game-high 35 disposals to shade older brother Jarrod with 34 and two goals.
Restricting the Crows to just two behinds in the third quarter was a positive for Central coach Roy Laird but in reality, the damage was done through Adelaide’s devastating second-term blitz.
The Dogs will now travel to face Port at Alberton in Round 6 while the Crows will confront Norwood at The Parade next Friday night, as they seek to break the Redlegs’ unbeaten run to start the season.
ADELAIDE 3.2 11.3 11.5 14.6 (90)
CENTRAL 0.1 3.3 5.5 8.7 (55)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Adelaide: Wilson 30, McHenry 28, Otten 27, Hutchesson 26, Butts 24, Wright 22, Davis 20, Sholl 19, Jenkins 18.
Central: T. Schiller 35, J. Schiller 34, Habel, Hanna, Jydon Neagle 27, Jenner 22, Goodrem, Weaver 21, Menzel 20.
GOALS – Adelaide: Jenkins 3, Davis, Wright 2, Hunter, Johnson, McAdam, McHenry, Press, Stengle, Wilson.
Central: J. Schiller 2, Auckland, Goodrem, Habel, Ortiz, Presbury, Stephenson.