Port Melbourne 22.21.153 defeated Bendigo Gold 14.10.94
PORT Melbourne ended its three game losing streak by overpowering a more competitive Bendigo Gold outfit by 59 points.
Inside the first minute of the game, Bendigo’s Steven Stroobants clashed heavily with a Port player on the wing that seemed to signal Bendigo’s intention of not backing down to the more experienced and finals tested Port Melbourne.
Yet, the Borough showed their seniority early with purposeful forward forays but their inaccuracy cost them early, registering 14 scoring shots for only five goals in the first quarter.
Port’s wayward goal kicking remained a concern throughout the afternoon but the sheer volume of marks in the forward half by Josh Scipione (six goals) and Dean Galea (four goals) – who combined for 18 marks – ensured high percentage looks in front of goal were had.
Trailing by 20 points at quarter time, Bendigo momentarily stunned the home crowd by closing the gap to nine points in the second term. This was largely due to Daniel Toman’s classy finish from the forward pocket. But Port showed its finals credentials by slamming home four of the next five majors to close out the first half.
John Baird (34 disposals) and Chris Cain (23 disposals) formed Port Melbourne’s engine room. In particular, Cain was influential with multiple inside 50 entries. Team of the year candidate, Wayde Skipper, ensured Bendigo’s midfield rarely gained ascendency as he asserted his dominance in the ruck.
A seven-goal-to-two third quarter hauled Port to a commanding 59-point lead that would hold firm until the final siren.
While Bendigo seized moments of control, Port proved the cleaner, composed and more fundamentally sound team as theycapitalised on theiryoung opponents’ sometimes-sloppy ball use.
Gold’s Tom Hams (23 disposals), Alik Magin (37) and Shannen Lange (three goals) persisted all afternoon to ensure the game was Bendigo’s second smallest defeat for the season.
In the final term, the match petered out into a shootout and some tired push and shove.
“The boys were getting stuck into me, I like showing some aggression and that’s the way I play my footy. We got the 4 points and that’s the main thing,” forward Dean Galea told the ABC after the game.
Port Melbourne might need some of Galea’s aggression as they look to recapture their dominant form from recent years as the finals draw near.
After a break this weekend as the Round 13 split round is completed, Bendigo travels to Sandringham in search of their first win while Port Melbourne remain at home in Williamstown.