Veteran AFL recruiter Matt Rendell has slammed Port Adelaide, suggesting they rocked up to the Preliminary Final expecting to just win.
With the Bulldogs battered from a month of hard quarantine and tough games coupled with injuries to Alex Keath, Cody Weightman and a question mark over Marcus Bontempelli, many figured the Power would win comfortably at the Adelaide Oval.
The Dogs however came out snarling and dominated from start to finish in the 71-point drubbing.
Rendell believes Port wanted a “bruise free” Prelim and suggests they dropped the ball in a similar fashion to Collingwood in 2019.
The Magpies were equally favoured to win through to the Grand Final in that season, but were beaten in a low scoring thriller by an injured GWS.
“They get these team sheets about an hour before the game the opposition and they see Willem Drew on the bench, well that would be telling me that Port think they’re morals and they don’t have to tag Tom Liberatore again,” Rendell told SEN SA Drive.
“It’s a poor message to send to your team. I’d play a tagger every week and I’d use it as motivation for the other players to say this bloke is going to hammer in and beat this bloke, he needs your support.
“I thought it sent a really poor message and they played like it. They were physically and mentally weak, except for about five players.
“Preliminary Finals are damn hard to win. They might be the hardest game to win of the season and they mentally were really poor.
“I said it the week before that if Port came with a 200-plus pressure rating, they’ll win this game. They would’ve been lucky to be 100.
“They did not lay a tackle, they had far too many passengers and I know what happened, they were looking for a bruise free game. ‘Don’t get injured, we’re morals here, they’ve lost Alex Keath, they’ve lost Cody Weightman, they’ve been on the road forever’.
“They were looking for a bruise free Preliminary Final and I’ve seen it before because I was at Collingwood when Collingwood did the same thing against GWS in 2019 when they were decimated by injury and Collingwood was looking for a bruise free game.
“They got so far behind and then they took the game on in the last quarter and nearly won it when they shouldn’t have. It would’ve been a travesty of justice.
“Port did the same thing.”
Port Adelaide has made the first of their list management calls, delisting veterans Hamish Hartlett and Tyson Goldsack, as well as 2017 draftee Joel Garner.
Goldsack will remain at Alberton in a full-time development role.