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Power keeps finals hopes alive

Power keeps finals hopes alive

PORT Adelaide has overcome the loss of two injured players to down Sydney by 23 points and revive their AFL finals hopes.

The Power triumphed 12.10 (82) to 8.11 (59) at Adelaide Oval on Saturday to sneak within two wins of the top eight.

Port duo Zak Butters (knee) and first-gamer Brynn Teakle (collarbone) were both hurt in a 10-minute span in the second quarter.

After leading by four points at halftime, the Power steamrolled Sydney with a six-goal burst in a third term punctuated by two brain fades from Swans ruckman Peter Ladhams, playing against his former club for the first time.

Ladhams threw Port’s Lachie Jones to the ground some 50 metres behind play – the resultant free was paid downfield and gifted Sam Powell-Pepper a goal.

Two minutes later, Ladhams tackled Power star Ollie Wines and then crudely punched the Brownlow medallist in the ribs while he was on the ground.

That act also resulted in a downfield free which was converted into another Port goal.

Ladhams was dragged to the bench as Sydney’s resistance broke: Port booted 6.2 to nothing in a tick under 17 minutes to create a match-defining 42-point lead.

Power forward Todd Marshall dominated with four goals, his attacking colleague Charlie Dixon kicked two and Wines was superb with his 33 disposals featuring six inside 50s and 11 clearances.

Port backmen Riley Bonner (27 touches) and Darcy Byrne-Jones (28 possessions) provided dash while Connor Rozee (29 disposals, eight inside 50s) was influential in midfield.

The Power defence contained Sydney’s tall forwards with Lance Franklin kicking one major and Sam Reid and Logan McDonald kept goal-less.

Isaac Heeney was the standout for the Swans, kicking four goals, while and Luke Parker (25 touches, 10 clearances) and Callum Mills (27 disposals, one goal) toiled gamely.

But the third-term fade-out would alarm coach John Longmire, particularly given the bright start from his team.

The seventh-placed Swans raced to a 19-2 advantage in the first quarter with their three big guns – Franklin, Heeney and Mills – all scoring goals.

But Port kicked 12 of the next 14 goals despite suffering double injury blows in the second term.

Dynamic midfielder Butters was substituted out of the game with a left knee injury, suffered when twisting awkwardly in a Harry Cunningham tackle.

And just 10 minutes later, ruckman Teakle, who joined Port in the mid-season draft two-and-a-half weeks ago, hurt his left collarbone in a bump with Swan Justin McInerney.

(C) AAP 2022