The semi-finals have been decided with Port Adelaide‘s demolition of Richmond at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday.
The AFL official website described the action:-
AFTER setting the tone for the afternoon with a jaw-dropping first term, Port Adelaide annihilated Richmond by 57 points in Sunday’s elimination final at Adelaide Oval.
Tigers skipper Trent Cotchin won the toss but elected to kick into a stiff breeze; a baffling decision he would immediately regret as the Power kicked the first seven goals of the game on their way to the big 20.12 (132) to 11.9 (75) win.
Just as Port coach Ken Hinkley predicted during the week, Richmond’s nine-game winning streak counted for nothing and it struggled badly to settle into the game.
Hinkley was very impressed by his side’s ferociousness at the contest, particularly early, and claimed the opening 17 minutes of the game was the best football the club had played under his reign.
“The boys were just up and about right from the very start … it all came from our intensity, we just hunted the ball really hard,” Hinkley said.
“We knew we had been challenged in that area against the Tiges last time we played them and it was one area we needed to get right and we did.
“It was an awesome display by a group of young me who were determined to stick together and play tough footy.”
Power captain Travis Boak was inspirational from the opening bounce, collecting 10 first-term possessions and a goal on his way to 33 disposals.
Justin Westhoff was brilliant with 20 disposals and two goals, while Jake Neade oozed X-factor and bravery to boot a game-high three majors.
The usual suspects in Robbie Gray (25 disposals, one goal), Ollie Wines (23 touches, two goals) and Chad Wingard (21, two) were all also influential and Tom Jonas (22 possessions, 12 marks) offered great rebound out of defence.
Few Richmond players had any meaningful impact on the contest, but Anthony Miles (24 disposals), Cotchin (six clearances), Brett Deledio (29 disposals, one goal) and Brandon Ellis could at least fly home to Melbourne with reputations in tact.
Tigers coach Damien Hardwick criticised his playing group’s hardness early, insisting Cotchin’s decision to kick into the wind was irrelevant.
“At the end of the day the wind has got nothing to do with putting your head over the ball and not winning hard contests,” Hardwick said.
“It’s a tale of two; you give yourself a chance to play finals but then the reality is you get measured by your finals success and we have made the last two and haven’t performed in both so we have got some work to do.”
While the home side’s scoreboard pressure was outstanding, it was set up by a superior work rate and a stirring attack on the football – as typified by Hamish Hartlett’s courageous gather to set up a goal in the second quarter.
Richmond steadied itself for a period late in the first term, but another six goals to two in favour of the Power extended the margin to 69 points by the main break.
The half was soured though when Power speedster Matt White was subbed out of the game with a suspected fractured jaw.
White was taken to hospital and although scans hadn’t yet revealed the extent of the damage, the club was hopeful he avoided a break.
A bake from Cotchin as the Tigers left the field at half-time failed to rouse his teammates as Port continued to control play through the third quarter.
With the result long settled, Port took its foot off the pedal in the final stanza but the Tigers’ late goals through Jack Riewoldt, Shane Edwards, Nathan Gordon and Ben Griffiths counted for nothing; their season and winning streak finally coming to an end.
So next weekend sees the semifinals with Port Adelaide travelling to Patersons Stadium to take on Fremantle, in the battle of the port cities and Geelong will host North Melbourne on Friday night.