Port Melbourne has kicked off it’s 2018 season proper with a disappointing display against Richmond at the Swinburne Centre, Punt Road Oval on Saturday afternoon.
Entering the clash off some mixed pre-season results – though the latest of which was an impressive victory over the Northern Blues – the Borough held high hopes that they could prevail once more over their Grand Final opponents of last year despite the news during the week of the venue shift in light of the North Port Oval surface condition.
As it were, they were thoroughly outplayed from the first bounce by a clinical Tigers outfit.
Before the healthy contingent of travelling faithful could blink, Port were staring down the barrel of a massive deficit, as the Tigers immediately looked faster, tougher and stronger right across the ground.
With a 40-point margin to overcome at the first change, Gary Ayres implored his players to remain calm in the face of some “serious heat”, and indeed the momentum shifted for a 10-minute period during the second term.
A long-range ball from Dylan Conway gave the fans some much-needed voice, but his goal to cut the margin to 33 points at the 21-minute mark would be as close as his side would get from that point on.
With the result essentially determined by the main break, the Borough did manage to fight the game out and keep tabs on the Tigers right throughout the second half as multiple goals were exchanged fairly regularly.
Popular small forward Anthony Anastasio was a shining light on an otherwise tough day.
His 18 disposals and two goals probably weren’t even enough of a reflection of the impact that he had, as he often found himself roaming further up the ground than usual to try and insert some of his trademark pace and creativity on the contest.
He fought hard all day, but similar solace could also be taken from the performances of the Borough’s younger brigade, such as Mack Rivett, Harvey Hooper, Daniel Beddison and first-gamer Hugh Johnson.
Eli Templeton finished atop the stat sheet with 31 possessions, whilst Dylan Conway and Anastasio joined new skipper Jordan Lisle as the only multiple goal kickers with two apiece.
Port’s next assignment will see them take on a high-flying Collingwood this Saturday at the Holden Centre. The clash marks the second consecutive game shifted from North Port, though the return Round 19 fixture against the Pies later in the year has been ‘switched’ from Victoria Park to the Borough’s home ground.
The bounce this weekend is also at an earlier-than-notified 12:30pm.
Richmond 8.5-53 15.7-97 18.11-119 21.15-141
Port Melbourne 2.1-13 5.3-33 8.6-54 11.10-76
Goal Kickers: A. Anastasio 2, J. Lisle 2, D. Conway 2, B. Pearson, R. Nahas, S. Lange, H. Hooper, M. Rivett.
Best Players: A. Anastasio, M. Rivett, A. Krakauer, H. Hooper, D. Beddison, I. Conway.
Report by Sam Wharton.
Image credit: Tony Cannatelli.