Port Melbourne has gone down by 24 points to Collingwood in its season opening clash at North Port Oval on Sunday.
In an entertaining and see-sawing contest, the momentum changed hands at will for much of the game, before three goals in the first four minutes of the last term finally broke the back of the Borough’s brave resistance.
Under sunny skies and with an early start time to cater for Channel 7’s live coverage, Port went into the game optimistic of a good showing despite the recent long-term injuries suffered by stars Sam Dwyer and Nathan Batsanis.
The side was quickly put on the back foot however, as the Pies slammed through three of the first four goals. Two late contributions from reigning ‘Frosty’ Miller Medallist Jordan Lisle had the Borough back in touch at quarter time though.
The intensity one would expect from a season opener continued to prevail in the second quarter contests, but it was the Pies who handled the heat better, as they kicked five goals; many a result of frustrating Port Melbourne skill errors and decision making.
Their 22-point buffer at the major break would have been even more if not for two crucial goals to key forward Hugh Sandilands.
Sandilands entered the fray again at the start of the second half, and he started a run of four Borough goals on the trot that suddenly gave them the lead and brought the large crowd to life.
Collingwood responded again however, as additional opportunities going begging at the other end meant that Port had a costly nine behinds to go with their four goals for the quarter.
It would soon hit home how costly some of those misses were, as the Pies then kicked three goals before the Borough could barely blink after a stern three-quarter time address from coach Gary Ayres.
After the margin had threatened to blow out, the Borough bravely stopped the Pies from doing any more damage on the scoreboard following that initial burst, eventually going down 14.13.97 to 10.13.73.
It was hard to find many individual winners across the ground, but Khan Haretuku could certainly hold his head high, continuing his outstanding pre-season form as he manfully battled his highly-touted Pies opponents in the ruck.
Captain Toby Pinwill, Shannen Lange and youngster Nick Dixon won plenty of the ball through the midfield, whilst Lucas Cook and Luke Tynan tried valiantly against the tide town back.
Sandilands and Lisle were the major contributors on the scoreboard with three goals apiece.
Guy Dickson will be monitored closely this week after suffering a bout of concussion following a heavy knock in the second quarter, whilst Lisle is also in doubt after suffering an ankle injury late in the game.
The news wasn’t much better for the Development League side, as they suffered a big loss to an impressive Werribee Tigers outfit; 17.9.111 to 10.6.66.
Dylan Van Unen, Alex Spencer and Zachary Keogh were amongst those players to stake their claims for selection in the Senior side this week. Josh Scipione kicked two goals on managed game time in his return to football.
The Borough will look to bounce back off a 6-day break at home again this week, as they take on the Coburg Lions in the traditional timeslots of 11:00am for the Development League, followed by the Seniors at 2:00pm.
Port Melbourne 3.1-19 5.2-32 9.10-64 10.13-73
Collingwood 3.3-21 8.6-54 9.12-66 14.13-97
Goal Kickers: J. Lisle 3, H. Sandilands 3, B. Connelly, M. Rivett, S. Lange, N. Dixon.
Best Players: L. Tynan, S. Lange, L. Cook, K. Haretuku, H. Sandilands, S. Clarke.
Port Melbourne 1.1-7 5.3-33 6.3-39 10.6-66
Werribee 8.1-49 10.4-64 13.5-83 17.9-111
Goal Kickers: Z. Keogh 2, J. Scipione 2, S. Murray, K. Dove, H. Hooper, D. Graham, J. Allan, A. Fenton.
Best Players: D. Van Unen, Z. Keogh, A. Spencer, J. Scipione, M. Hayes, D. Beddison.
Photo courtesy of Tony Cannatelli.