Early in the second quarter of Saturday’s Round 6 VFL match at North Port Oval, the Borough led the Bees 8.3 to 0.1.
It was as one-sided as a pizza with the lot.
Werribee fought back, as its results early in the season suggested it would, and in the end the final margin was 16 points.
But Port’s six-goal first quarter proved the difference as it made it four wins on the bounce, no small feat in such an even competition.
And its small forwards played a big part in the victory.
Campbell Walker seemed to be on hand every time the ball spilt from a pack and he finished with four goals, picking up more crumbs than a vacuum cleaner.
Blake Pearson booted three and Melbourne recruit Dion Johnstone two.
Pearson kicked two in the telling first term as the Borough scooted away. Ethan Phillips, usually a defender, also slotted two, both from free kicks for interference.
The Bees could manage only one point for the quarter, at the 27-minute mark. A bit earlier Joe Maishman had a good look at the goals, but Borough defender Daniel Beddison came in with a smother.
“You look like little boys out there!’’ Werribee coach Mark “Choco’’ Williams told his players at quarter time. He sent them to their line coaches, called them back three minutes later and said it had been “embarrassing’’ for the club.
Port kicked the first two goals of the second term, via a Walker snap and a mark in the square from Khan Haretuku, and at that stage the scoreboard read 8.3 to 0.1.
Finally Werribee was roused. Timm House kicked the Tigers’ first goal of the match in the 11th minute of the quarter, and five more followed as the visitors lifted through on-ballers Tommy Gribble, Matt Hanson and Matt Munro.
Still, Port’s advantage was 21 points at halftime and it pulled further ahead with the opening three goals of the third term, Walker to the fore again with his crumbing.
At the last change Williams told his players to go long and down the middle from every kick-out. Twice the tactic caught Port out as the Tigers hurried the ball from one end to the other.
They finished so well that the hosts were thankful for Harvey Hooper’s mark and set-shot in the 13th minute. It took the lead back out to 21 points.
The Bees trimmed it to 17 through Keegan Gray, but Port responded immediately. And it was through Walker again, the 20-year-old former Brisbane Lions Academy player taking a star turn in his 17th senior match.
Borough coach Gary Ayres said he couldn’t have wished for a better start against a team he rated highly.
“When we did intel on them, we came to look at them as a very good side,’’ Ayres said of the Bees.
“And 10 minutes into the second quarter we’re eight goals up. Our ball use was clinical. We pressured them, we forced them into fumbles, we forced them into turnovers and we put pressure on through the scoreboard.
“But from there they were probably the better side for a lot of the game. I thought we had the ascendancy in the third quarter but then in the last quarter it was on.
“But considering we had a six-day break and we had to make four changes, and where we were a month ago (0-2), I think it’s a significant win for us.’’
While Ayres was pleased with Walker, Pearson and Johnstone, he also noted the efforts of defenders Harvey Hooper, Lachie Waddell, Cal Searle and Eli Templeton.
With premiership players departing, Port has had to construct a new backline this year.
“The last five weeks, Harvey’s probably been our best player,’’ Ayres said of Hooper.
For Bees, left-footer Munro kicked three goals, and Gribble (27 possessions) and Hanson (22) saw a lot of the ball.
But there was no getting away from that shoddy start.
“Who knows why it happens,’’ Williams said after the match.
“We had a really good win the last time we played, then came the bye … that can contribute … we can pick a little bit of this and a little bit of that … Port were playing on their home ground, they didn’t start well last week against Coburg, so they wanted to come our firing, so add all those things together.
“I think there were lots and lots of free kicks against us in that quarter as well.
“It was nice they (the Bees) could see somewhere in their head space to see the possibilities and fight back.’’
Port Melbourne 6.2, 9.4, 13.5, 16.9 (105)
Werribee 0.1, 6.1, 9.3, 14.5 (89)
PM goals: C. Walker 4, B. Pearson 3, D. Johnstone 2, J. Lisle 2, E. Phillips 2, M. King, K. Haretuku, H. Hooper.
Best: C. Walker, H. Hooper, S. Lange, B. Pearson, D. Johnstone, E. Templeton.
Werribee goals: M. Munro 3, J. Henderson 2, K. Declase 2, K. Gray, D. Brew, J. Riccardi, T. House, J. Berry, B. Malual, N. Coughlan.
Best: A. Clarke, M. Spencer, T. Gribble, M. Hanson, D. Brew, M. Munro.
Report: Paul Amy.
Image credit: Emily Fraser-Ison.