Second half drop off costs Port the win
By Ferguson Hickey on August 15, 2023
A wet afternoon at Punt Road has seen Port Melbourne fall down to Richmond after a disappointing second half, losing 51 to 72.
Port Melbourne will still have to wait to get their first win against the Tiges since the 2017 VFL Grand Final.
With Captain Harvey Hooper out with suspension, the Port Melbourne midfield was going to need someone to step up, and that man was Dylan Clarke, who ended the game with 36 disposals and seven tackles.
His running mate in the middle Josh Green also had a massive day out, with 35 disposals. Ethan Phillips was his usual intercepting self, ending the game with 26 touches and 10 marks.
A late out to ruckman Sam Naismith meant the Borough was going to have to weather the storm early in the quarter, with Tom Hofert providing that security with nine first quarter hit-outs.
Richmond was able to get on the board first through Brad Melville, as the wet weather proved for a very scrappy first quarter.
Port Melbourne got their first goal through Jake Gasper, as he kicked a typical Jake Gasper goal with a terrific right footed snap while being tackled.
A few terrific defensive efforts from Tom Hird meant the Borough only went into quarter time down two points.
A dominant start to the second quarter from Port Melbourne saw them capitalise through forward pocket Kyle Viccars, as he kicked a calm left foot snap from a forced turnover to regain the lead for the Borough.
Taking some inspiration from the Matilda’s, Jesse Cucinotta was able to kick a lovely soccer goal off the ground as it dribbled past the Richmond defenders.
Port closed out the quarter with a second goal to Viccars after he earned a free kick, and then a lovely opportunist crumbing effort by Zach Adams saw the Borough go into half time with an important 16-point lead.
Coming into the second half and starting the third with a 16-point lead was a well-earned position for the Borough, but an abysmal third quarter left them with none of that lead.
Constant skill errors coming out of the back half, which led to forward half turnovers for the Tigers which gave them easy access to their goals.
The Port Melbourne backline defended well initially, as Ethan Phillips was playing a terrific role as the intercepting defender, but the constant turnovers ripped up his good work.
The third quarter left the Borough going into the final break down 15 points.
The fourth quarter started off with a Richmond goal, making a comeback seem like a very difficult task for the Borough.
The attempt at a comeback was kick started as Gasper kicked his second of the afternoon via a free kick.
A third goal for Gasper, coming from a floating left footed kick had the Borough only down by eight.
With limited time and difficult weather conditions, an ill-timed turnover from the back half was the last thing the Borough needed, as Richmond capitalised to put the game out of reach.
Richmond were eventual 21-point winners, with eight second half goals to Port Melbourne’s two telling the story.
Port Melbourne will play their final game of the season next week at DSV Stadium in Williamstown against the Footscray Bulldogs at 11:05am Sunday morning.
Port Melbourne 7.9 51 def by Richmond 10.12 72
Goal Kickers: J. Gasper 3, K. Viccars 2, J. Cucinotta, Z. Adams