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Five talking points: Port Adelaide v St Kilda

Travis King  March 27, 2016 6:29 PM

Highlights: Port Adelaide v St Kilda The Power and Saints clash in round one

1. Gutsy Saints run out of legs
About half of St Kilda's players sprawled on the ground receiving massages at three-quarter time and the brave Saints simply couldn't keep up the frenetic pace when Port lifted a gear in the final term. Alan Richardson won't use it as an excuse, but having his side's second NAB Challenge match in Mackay washed out forced a rethink of the pre-season schedule for some key Saints and begs the question – did St Kilda run out of legs as a result? After leading by a goal at the final change, St Kilda conceded 19 inside 50s to 10 and the Power banged through seven consecutive goals in the last term. 

Full match coverage and stats

2. The Power need to clone Robbie Gray
Port was on the ropes as the Saints marched to a 15-point lead in the second term, but cometh the hour, cometh the man. Isolated in the forward line, Robbie Gray's class shone as he bagged three goals for the quarter and almost single-handedly kept the Power's fading chances alive. The Power need two of their dual club champion, one to be a devastating force in attack and also the clearance king who swung into midfield in the critical third term and turned the tide after the Tom Hickey-led Saints engine room had dominated stoppages. 

3. Riewoldt back where he belongs in dangerous attack
Milestone man Nick Riewoldt lined up where many believe he still belongs, at centre-half forward, in his 200th game as Saints skipper and while he didn't have a big influence, he provided structure to St Kilda's forward line. Pleasingly for the Saints in a bitter loss, it was the next generation of Jack Lonie, Maverick Weller, Josh Bruce, Blake Acres and Jack Billings who ran riot early in acres of space out the back of Port's shambolic defensive zone. Debutant Jade Gresham also showed his nose for goals by getting on the end of an absolute gift from Brad Ebert to join the first kick, first goal club. 

4. Dixon promises plenty in hot and cold debut
After a high-profile and big-money move from Gold Coast, there's bound to be plenty of scrutiny on Charlie Dixon's performances in Power colours this year and the key forward understandably looked a touch nervous in round one. He had an enthralling battle with Sam Fisher and honours might have been split. Fisher got on top early, although Dixon worked into the match and booted his first goal in the third term. He tugged a straight-forward set shot right soon after, stalling the Power's momentum as they charged towards the final break, but iced the cake with a 60m bomb and third goal in the dying stages. There was a lot to like for Port fans. 

5. Nobody does pre-game entertainment like the Power
You can keep your fireworks and flag-bearers, because Port has once again taken match-day entertainment to a new level. Supporters at Adelaide Oval were treated to a rare look inside the inner sanctum of Port's team room as Ken Hinkley addressed his players pre-match, with the coach imploring his charges to represent their supporters with daring football. It was spine-tingling stuff and, combined with a heart-rate monitor on Travis Boak as he led the side onto the ground and the now customary INXS hit 'Never Tear Us Apart' before the bounce, it raised the bar in a fan engagement area that the Power are already streets ahead of most clubs.