Port Adelaide shrugged off a lethargic start to overrun a young North Melbourne side by 52 points.
Ollie Wines (30 disposals), Travis Boak (27 disposals, goals) and recruit Orazio Fantasia (4 goals) were the standouts. Charlie Dixon, Todd Marshall, and Zak Butters all booted multiple goals as Port overwhelmed North in a devastating second-quarter performance in which they kicked eight goals to one.
How the game panned out
North started the better side as it seemed Port were still in preseason mode. The Roos hunted in packs and to their credit put the Power under consistent pressure as they looked like they were up for the fight. Port could consider themselves lucky they were only down by two points at the break as inaccurate kicking cost North dearly.
It seemed as if Port awoke from their slumber in the second term and put on an absolute clinic. Travis Boak was everywhere, Aliir Aliir and Orazio Fantasia took the game way from North as they completely dominated the second term.
We can see exactly what both Fantasia and Aliir will bring Port this season. Orazio with his classy skills could easily have had six or seven today and Aliir was a constant roadblock for the Roos when they looked to go forward.
Essentially the second term won the game for Port as in the second half it was relatively even with Port kicking seven goals to North’s six. However, it was Port’s class going forward and inside 50 that was the real difference for me.
The backline coped reasonably well for the most part, although the first quarter will make for interesting viewing on Monday.
In the end Port cruised to a comfortable win that cannot be taken for granted, just ask Geelong and Brisbane who both succumbed to teams they were expected to beat. It did look like that early on for Ken Hinkley’s men however they went through the gears and North could not go with them.
Boak was best on ground in the first half for me. He gathered 21 disposals and essentially did what he pleased as he ran riot finishing the day with 27 touches and two goals. Wines was his usual industrial self, Dan Houston provided plenty of run and exquisite ball use off half-back, Willem Drew was a solid contributor (17 touches) and Mile Bergman looked at home in his first AFL game down back with a 14 disposal performance.
In the end, it was just about getting the season off to a good start and although it looked like Port were going to be in for a dog fight, once they got going, North could not go with them as they showed their class and just how explosive they can be going forward. Their ball movement, run and great kicking skills set them apart from a North side that had loads of young players on show.
Port took the foot off the gas in the last quarter as the game was well and truly in hand and it gives them a good foundation to build upon after being challenged and then responding to that challenge emphatically.
A 52 win in which Port booted 17 goals and had six multiple goalkickers will please Hinkley to no end. The only sour note was the hamstring injury to Riley Bonner as he was replaced by Tom Rockliff in the second half.
A solid win for the Power as they head back to Alberton to gear up for the arrival of Essendon next Saturday afternoon. A great way to start the year Power fans.