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Running power has Port up and about: Heath

Harry Thring  April 15, 2013 10:54 AM

Boak's ball burster Boak unwinds from 55m

Travis Boak celebrates with Matthew Lobbe during the win against Adelaide

We knew that if we could get within a couple of goals or a couple of points late in the game, we'd have the run to run over the top of them
PORT Adelaide is fast becoming a side capable of winning from any position, defender Campbell Heath says.

The Power turned around a 31-point deficit to claim victory against Adelaide in Sunday's Showdown, the team's third straight win to start the season.

Such a reputation is in stark contrast to last year, when the club only came from behind at three-quarter time to win once (against North Melbourne in round eight) and lost two games after being ahead at the final change (Essendon in round two and Adelaide in round five).

But under the guidance of high performance manager Darren Burgess, the Power have booted 34 second-half goals to 16 this season, including 11 against the Crows.

Heath said the Power remained confident despite the sizable deficit on Sunday night, largely due to the Burgess-inspired fitness of the squad.

"We knew that if we could get within a couple of goals or a couple of points late in the game, we'd have the run to run over the top of them and get them on the outside," Heath said.

"That's what we did and credit to Darren Burgess, he's really got us in really good condition this year fitness-wise and there's a really good belief in the boys tat we can run out games.

"Last year we really struggled in that aspect but this year it's a really good strength for us."

Power coach Ken Hinkley also praised his fitness guru, who returned to Alberton late last year after spending five years with English soccer giant Liverpool.

"There's been a bit said about Darren Burgess but he clearly has a significant influence in this group at the moment and has got them in great shape," Hinkley said.

"We had 17 [operations] after last season which was challenging to handle, but now we've got our group, bar one or two players, all fit and back and playing and in good shape."

Justin Westhoff, captain Travis Boak and young forwards Chad Wingard and Jake Neade have been pivotal in Port's resurgence this year and Heath said the club had a host of players capable to sparking comebacks.

Boak's 30-disposal, three-goal performance was exceptional from start to finish in Showdown XXXIV and Westhoff's two goals in two minutes sparked the side's turnaround midway through the third quarter.

"'Boaky' and 'Hoff' (Westhoff) last night, as leaders they stepped up at the right time and they really carried a few boys with them," he said.

"We expect that from our leaders and if we can get most of our leaders doing that we're going to win the game, so I'm really proud of those boys."

Harry Thring is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_Harry.