Sport AFL Power surge late to topple Eagles

Power surge late to topple Eagles

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Port Adelaide strengthened their claims for a top-four finish with a dogged 14-point win over West Coast in Saturday night’s AFL clash at Patersons Stadium.

The Power trailed by 10 points midway through the third quarter, but kicked five of the final six goals to secure the 10.10 (70) to 7.14 (56) victory.

The win lifts Port Adelaide (4-1) into equal first on the table, but their premiership credentials will receive their sternest test to date when they host Geelong next Sunday.

West Coast (3-2) were left counting the cost of their second straight loss, with midfielder Xavier Ellis succumbing to a calf injury and skipper Darren Glass likely to be scrutinised for his heavy hit on Chad Wingard. Ellis was plagued by calf issues during his last few years at Hawthorn.

Glass could be suspended after he took his eye off the ball before clattering into Wingard in a spoiling attempt.

Ruckman Nic Naitanui could also be in strife for his thumping tackle on Kane Cornes.

Naitanui was in a world of pain after copping a late knee to his ribs, but the 2012 All-Australian recovered to finish with 16 possessions and 17 hit-outs.

The Power were well led by a series of journeymen, with former Lion Jared Polec (27 possessions), ex-Eagle Brad Ebert and former Tiger Matt White impressive.

Eagles forward Jack Darling was relentless and midfielder Matt Priddis starred on the ball, but their wayward kicking on goal came back to haunt them.

West Coast came under fire during the week following their 75-point flogging by Geelong.

The return of Glass, Matt Rosa, Luke Shuey and Chris Masten added some much-needed class, with the quartet helping West Coast withstand Port Adelaide’s early surge.

Power midfielder Ebert enjoyed a dream start on his old stomping ground, with the midfielder booting two early goals to give his side a 21-3 lead after 18 minutes.

West Coast cut the margin to six points by quarter-time, and they entered the long break with a two-point lead after fine work from Priddis and Darling.

Priddis tallied 13 possessions for the term to give West Coast the edge in the midfield, while Darling’s frenetic pressure up forward was rewarded with two goals.

The third quarter was a goalless arm wrestle for the first 14 minutes before a magic piece of work in defence from Jamie Bennell set up a goal for Masten.

Two goals from Port Adelaide forward Robbie Gray gave the Power a one-point edge at the final change, and a few dubious umpiring decisions cost West Coast dearly in the last quarter.