Sport AFL Dockers sink Port to seal double chance

Dockers sink Port to seal double chance

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Fremantle secured a double finals chance after coming from behind to beat Port Adelaide by eight points in Saturday’s top-four showdown at Patersons Stadium.

The Dockers trailed by 12 points early in the third quarter, but turned the match on its head with the next nine goals to secure the 16.9 (105) to 14.13 (97) win in front of 38,209 fans.

The result saw Fremantle finish fourth, while Port Adelaide were forced to settle for fifth.

The Dockers will now play an away qualifying final against either Sydney or Hawthorn, while Port Adelaide will host an elimination final against either Richmond, West Coast or Adelaide.

Fremantle led by 38 points after their nine-goal blitz, but the Power kicked the last five goals of the match to ensure a nervy finish.

Dockers midfielder Michael Barlow, who was thrust into the side just two weeks after breaking his thumb, tallied 27 possessions in a brave effort to counter the absence of suspended star Nat Fyfe.

But it was the ground-level forwards Hayden Ballantyne, Michael Walters and Chris Mayne who kicked the Dockers into gear during the critical third quarter and the early part of the last.

With Fremantle staring down the barrel of a loss, Ballantyne, Mayne and Walters combined for seven goals during the side’s nine-goal blitz to set up the win, while David Mundy and Lachie Neale provided the midfield drive.

To Port’s credit they never gave up.

Trailing by 38 points midway through the final quarter, the Power kicked five quick goals to get the margin back to within two straight kicks.

But they simply ran out of time, with forward Jay Schulz finishing with six goals in a fine effort.

With so much at stake, both teams appeared nervous during an error-riddled opening term.

The Power suffered a nervous moment when Schulz banged his head on the turf just a week after copping a heavy knock to the face.

Schulz was able to shake off the hit to kick a goal, but Port Adelaide failed to inflict any major damage on the scoreboard despite winning the clearances, inside 50m count and hit-outs.

Emerging Dockers forward Matt Taberner booted two goals in the opening quarter, and the 21-year-old caused Port Adelaide’s defence more problems in the second quarter as the home side snuck out to a 12-point lead.

But backed by the brilliance of Chad Wingard and Robbie Gray, Port Adelaide produced the perfect counter-punch to go into halftime with a one-point advantage.

Fremantle kicked clear in the second half, but three final-quarter goals to Schulz briefly threatened to derail the Dockers.