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Match report: Demons still a devilish chance of finals action

Highlights: Port Adelaide v Melbourne The Power and Demons clash in round 21
While the Demons may not be No 1 their season still has life left in it - ${keywords}
While the Demons may not be No 1 their season still has life left in it

MELBOURNE'S bold finals dream remains alive after an impressive 40-point victory against Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.

Eight unanswered goals early in the game proved to be the difference as the Demons broke a 16-year drought against the Power in South Australia with a 13.16 (94) to 8.6 (54) win in front of a crowd of 33,426.

The Demons (10-10) must win their last two games against Carlton and Geelong, and hope North Melbourne goes down to the Sydney Swans and Greater Western Sydney to sneak into the top eight.

Five talking points: Port Adelaide v Melbourne

A potentially season-ending hamstring injury to star forward Chad Wingard rubbed salt into the wound for the Power (9-10), which had its chances of playing in September disappear.

It's the first time the Demons have won three games in a row since 2010.

"Port away is a very, very hard venue to win at and to win convincingly is really pleasing," coach Paul Roos said.

"We’ve had trouble putting wins together, I think this year's the first we've [won] two in a row, so now to do three in a row … they're all steps forward for a young group and a group that's growing together.

"I'm rapt for the team, rapt for the players, rapt for the work that the coaches and particularly our assistant coaches put in."

Power coach Ken Hinkley said his side paid the price for committing turnovers from basic skill errors.

"There's times tonight where we were unable to compete at the level we need to be a good AFL team," Hinkley said.

"Our skill broke down at crucial times and it puts you out of position on the ground that opposition sides go back through you too easily.

"The improvement that needs to come into the group, and hasn't come into the group thus far, would suggest there are some people that aren't capable of getting it to where we need it to be."

Bernie Vince (30 possessions) and Dom Tyson (29) found plenty of the ball in the Melbourne midfield, while giant ruckman Max Gawn (46 hit-outs and 16 possessions) continued his outstanding season.

GAMEBREAKER: Tyson tears through Power

Hard nut Ollie Wines (31 possessions) battled valiantly for the Power, Robbie Gray (26 possesions) rebounded from a quiet game last week and Jared Polec (24 possessions and two goals) was dangerous in the forward line.

Wingard gave the Power the perfect start with the game's opening goal, but that was as good as it got for the hosts as the Demons kicked the next four majors to take a 19-point lead into quarter-time.

Things went from bad to worse for the Power when Wingard went off the ground after clutching at his right hamstring.

The Demons kicked the first four goals of the second term to push the advantage out to 43 points before Polec broke the 47-minute drought between the Power's first and second majors.

 

The 37-point margin at halftime was the Demons' largest lead in an away game since 2011.

The Power kicked three straight goals to reduce the deficit to 21 points, but a crucial goal to Jack Watts early in the last quarter settled the Demons.

Full match coverage and stats

MEDICAL ROOM
Port Adelaide: Power forward Chad Wingard will miss the rest of the season with a hamstring injury. Wingard grabbed his right hamstring while running without any contact in the second quarter. The star forward went straight off the ground and initial fears are he could miss the rest of the season. Defender Logan Austin also had a hamstring injury tested in third quarter. Austin had his leg strapped, but started the last term on the bench. Justin Westhoff sustained a head knock at the end of the first quarter, but played on after the break.

Melbourne: The Demons didn't report any injuries. 

 

NEXT UP
Port Adelaide turns its focus to facing cross-town rivals Adelaide in the Showdown on Saturday night, while Melbourne has an eight-day break ahead of its clash with Carlton at the MCG.

PORT ADELAIDE      1.2   2.4    6.5     8.6   (54)
MELBOURNE            4.3   8.5    9.9   13.16   (94)           

GOALS
Port Adelaide: Polec 2, Young 2, Wingard, Krakouer, Wines, Sam Gray
Melbourne: Brayshaw 2, Bugg 2, Garlett 2, Frost, Kent, Oliver, Vince, Tyson, Watts, Jones, 

BEST 
Port Adelaide: S.Gray, Polec, R.Gray, Pittard, Wines
Melbourne: Tyson, Vince, Gawn, Oliver, Hunt 

INJURIES 
Port Adelaide: Wingard (hamstring)
Melbourne: Nil 

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Bannister, Chamberlain, Mollison

Official crowd: 33,426 at Adelaide Oval