Port Adelaide has capped off a crazy week and Travis Boak’s 300th game with a hard-fought win over Collingwood at Marvel Stadium, proving stronger when it counted to win by 28 points.
It was a ‘home’ game for the Power, originally slated for Adelaide Oval before Australia’s COVID-19 pandemic showed its hand once again, after many of Boak’s family had flown to Adelaide to celebrate the occasion.
There were numerous plans put into motion on Wednesday this week to get the game underway, and while it was played in front of an empty stadium, the win will do a world of good for Boak and the Power’s season, as well as Port supporters in lockdown in South Australia.
In a game Port were expected to dominate, it was an enthralling contest between two teams determined not to concede an inch.
The Pies fired the first punches to go into quarter-time five point leaders, but a stunning Karl Amon goal was the clear highlight, selling the candy twice before snapping around his body for a goal-of-the-year contender.
Daring ball movement from Collingwood early on had the Power worried, however a Pendlebury leg injury halted the momentum as Port Adelaide came storming back in the second quarter to lead by over three goals at the half.
Ken Hinkley’s men would have been keen to go on with the job and prove they deserve a spot in the top four, however they were met by a resolute Collingwood outfit in the third quarter who managed to narrow the margin to just nine points in the third term.
Two late goals to the Power gave faith to the belief they’d be able to see out the game, but the Pies gave them a scare once again, kicking the first two goals of the last term to get within striking distance.
But Port Adelaide had too much experience for the young Pies in the end, kicking the final three goals of the game.
Boak’s 300th saw a new generation of Port midfielder reveal themselves, Collingwood’s youth declare their hands and a Pies side fighting it out against the odds.
Here’s everything you need to know!
Boak’s 300th brings three generations of Port midfielders together:
Travis Boak celebrated his 300th game with his trademark consistency and toughness, cracking in all night to be to be among Port’s best once again this season.
He finished with 30 disposals (16 contested), before rightly being chaired off by Ollie Wines and Sam Powell-Pepper infront of the two teams in a great show of respect for one of the clubs' greats.
He was accompanied in the middle by his partner in crime Wines, as he so often has been this year, who worked his way into the game to finish with 30 disposals and a goal.
However, what may have pleased both of them most was the game of Willem Drew.
The 22-year-old Port youngster was one of his team’s best all night in just his 28th game, and the one to stand up on the inside when the whips were cracking in the third quarter.
He was also the only player on the ground to have more contested possessions than Boak, finishing with 17.
Despite the occasion of his 300th game, Boak as the ultimate clubman will be thrilled to know the club may have found a player to be a staple of the midfield going forward.
Collingwood kids give plenty of hope:
There has been little for Collingwood fans to smile about this season, and some would say it couldn’t have gone much worse.
Their back half of the season has seen plenty of youth and debutants exposed to the rigours of AFL football, and Friday night might have been the first real proof of the talent developing on the Collingwood list, bringing some great signs for the future.
Oliver Henry, Finlay Macrae, Caleb Poulter, Trent Bianco and Nathan Murphy all had their moments in the second half, while Jack Ginnivan and Anton Tohill were solid on debut.
Henry, Macrae and Bianco especially played with the grace and confidence of veterans in the second half, showing more than enough to suggest there’s a long career in the AFL ahead for them.
Robert Harvey won’t be their coach next year, but he can take a lot of pride for the way Collingwood’s youth have proven themselves towards the end of the season.
Pies’ leader limps off, team fights on:
Scott Pendlebury fell victim to a lower leg injury early on in the clash against Port Adelaide, spending much of the first term on the bench before being subbed off at quarter-time.
It certainly wasn’t what Pies fans wanted to see after bringing the heat to Port Adelaide early on, and was perhaps a contributing factor to their goalless second quarter.
To compound matters, they certainly didn’t bring on a like-for-like replacement in Mason Cox.
Missing such leadership in Pendlebury, combined with their form from the last month cast severe doubts about Collingwood’s ability to mount a fightback, and when Port kicked the first two goals of the second half in quick succession it almost seemed helpless for the Pies.
However, a spirited fightback from the men in black and white proved many wrong, and while it wasn’t enough in the end, the club will bask in the knowledge they can do it without the influence of their 33 year-old captain.
The win for Port Adelaide will confirm they remain in the top four at the end of Round 19, as they chance the double chance for finals.
They’ll start convincing favourites in their next three games against the Giants, Crows and Blues and may be able to lock in a top four finals spot with three wins in those fixtures.
Meanwhile, Collingwood also have winnable games coming up. They’re scheduled to play the Eagles and Hawks in the next fortnight and potentially carry some momentum into the 2022 season.
Port Adelaide: 2.4, 6.8, 11.11, 14.13. (97)
Collingwood: 3.3, 3.7, 8.8, 10.9 (69)
Port Adelaide: Dixon 4, Marshall 3, Ladhams 2, Amon, Houston, Rozee, Woodcock, Wines
Collingwood: Mihocek 3, Henry 2, De Goey, Elliot, Cox, Bianco, Cameron
Port Adelaide: Drew, Wines, Boak, Dixon, Amon
Collingwood: Crisp, Adams, Grundy, De Goey, Sidebottom
Port Adelaide: nil
Collingwood: Pendlebury (leg), Adams (knee)