By ZAC MILBANK
Port Adelaide’s three key talls played significant roles in defeating an injury-ravaged North Adelaide by 21 points at Alberton Oval on Sunday.
Ruckman Peter Ladhams, forward Todd Marshall and floating utility Jarrod Lienert all made their presence felt for the Magpies as they responded to last round’s disappointing loss to South Adelaide.
After trailing at quarter time, the hosts constructed their second win of the season with a strong second term in which they booted five goals to North’s two en route to earning an 11-point half-time lead.
In the thick of it was Norwood draftee Ladhams, who appeared to thrive on the extra responsibility and workload in the absence of suspended team-mate Billy Frampton.
Finishing with 23 disposals, six marks, four clearances, five inside 50s and 17 hit-outs, the 21-year-old also hit the scoreboard with two goals.
Ladhams set up numerous opportunities for his midfielders in acting captain Jack Trengove, who was again prolific with 35 disposals, Joe Atley, Kai Pudney, Sam Mayes and Cam Hewett.
Talented key forward Marshall (18 disposals and five marks) finished off plenty of good work inside attacking 50m, booting a game high four goals, all coming when there was plenty of heat in the contest before three quarter-time.
Seeking to regain his place in the Power line-up after an impressive end to last season, Lienert worked hard around the ground in a constructive manner to tally 33 disposals, nine marks and a goal.
And the Sturt premiership player’s attitude was best summed up when he applied a goal-saving tackle on Rooster Frazer Driscoll 26 minutes into the final term despite his team having the result well under control.
After producing some trademark eye-catching football late in the first term and early in the second, North ran out of steam as the game wore on, with a mounting injury toll ensuring fewer rotations from the interchange.
Former captain Mitch Clisby (hamstring) and reliable defender Brock Castree (ankle) were unable to continue while star midfielder Aidan Tropiano (22 disposals and five clearances) soldiered on bravely in the fourth term despite injuring his AC-joint in a collision.
Inexperienced midfielder James Schwarz (cut head) and premiership forward Keenan Ramsey (ankle) were other casualties but they, along with Tropiano, remain a chance to play in Round 4.
Roosters premiership skipper Max Thring led the way on the stats sheet with 25 touches to shade his deputy Alex Spina and Tom Schwarz, who returned from a one-match ban courtesy of SANFL’s Match Review Panel.
North will now look to recover as best as it can before it fronts up again in just five days against Central District at Prospect on Good Friday while Port will also have a short turn around before tackling Norwood on Thursday night at The Parade.
PORT 4.1 9.3 14.9 16.11 (107)
NORTH 5.2 7.4 9.6 13.8 (86)
LEADING DISPOSALS – Port: Trengove 35, Lienert 33, Pudney 31, Mayes 28, Hewett 27, Ladhams 23, Atley, McKenzie 22, Broadbent, Garner, Woodcock 21.
North: Thring 25, T. Schwarz, Spina 24, C. Craig 23, Tropiano 22, Allmond 21, Hender 20.
GOALS – Port: Marshall 4, Cox, Farrell, Ladhams 2, Broadbent, Davidson, Edwards, Johnson, Lienert, Mead.
North: Ramsey, Harvey 3, Hender 2, Allmond, A. Barns, Combe, Neade, T. Schwarz.