Sport AFL Port hold off Melbourne in thriller
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Port hold off Melbourne in thriller

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Port Adelaide held off a plucky Melbourne to scrape a three-point AFL win on Sunday and ensure their stalwart Dom Cassisi retired a winner.

Port’s Justin Westhoff kicked three goals and teammates Jay Schulz and Paul Stewart two each in an error-riddled 10.12 (72) to 10.9 (69) triumph at Adelaide Oval.

The Power snapped a three-game losing streak but it took until Schulz slotted the game-winning goal, a 35m shot from a tight angle with less than two minutes remaining.

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Port’s Justin Westhoff stifles the efforts of Demon Mark Jamar.

But Port were far from convincing, relying heavily on cameos from Robbie Gray (26 disposals), Westhoff and the midfield grunt of Ollie Wines (26 possessions).

Melbourne were superbly served by onballers Nathan Jones (31 touches) and Dom Tyson (two goals, 32 disposals) but slipped to their 13th loss of the year.

The Demons threatened to spoil Port’s farewell party for ex-captain Cassisi, who retired after the game.

Melbourne appeared headed for a heavy loss when Port streaked to a five-goal lead midway through the second stanza before a 37,894-strong crowd.

But instead of accelerating, the Power hit cruise mode as the Demons responded with the next three goals to trail by only 13 points at halftime.

And Melbourne continued their surge after the break, adding another three goals without reply – two stellar shots on the run from Sam Blease and Jay Kennedy-Harris, and a 55m bomb from Jack Watts.

The triple treat gave the Demons a six-point lead, but Port’s Chad Wingard scored after the three quarter-time siren to give the home side a two-point buffer at the last change.

A tense scoring stalemate ensued, broken by Port’s Aaron Young with a major in the 16th minute which edged the Power to a nine-point advantage.

The Demons responded with Rohan Bail dribbling a remarkable 40m snap from the boundary line before Tyson slotted his second for Melbourne to hit the front.

But with one minute 55 seconds left, Schulz threaded his pressure-cooked match-winner to give Port their 12th win this season.

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