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Match report: Eagles turn the jets on late

JLT Highlights: West Coast v Port Adelaide The Eagles and Power clash in the JLT

WEST Coast came away with a two-point victory thanks to a last-gasp Lewis Jetta bomb but Port Adelaide gun Robbie Gray's head-high bump was the main talking point from a hard-fought JLT Community Series clash on Sunday. 

Full match coverage and stats

In another tight contest between last year's elimination final combatants, Gray's bump on star Eagles backman Jeremy McGovern presented an early test case for new match review officer Michael Christian.

Gray clipped McGovern's head after bracing for a collision in the opening term, forcing the All Australian defender from the ground at the 22nd-minute mark.

McGovern sat out the remainder of the clash, leaving Gray with a nervous wait to see if he is cited by Christian and potentially suspended for the Power's round one clash against Fremantle. 

Port led Sunday's close contest by one straight kick at three-quarter time and appeared to have victory secured until Jetta unloaded from 60m in the dying stages, stealing an 8.8 (56) to 8.6 (54) triumph.

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"It was a bit scrappy. I thought the two teams played a similar style," Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.

"I was pleased that we had a really good strong hit-out, but there's some work to do – probably in the front half more than anything that connection inside 50 and players at the fall of the ball."

WATCH: Adam Simpson's full post-match media conference

A host of new faces lined up for both sides for the first time at Leederville Oval, with Power draftee Dom Barry a standout after returning from the football wilderness.  

The former Melbourne onballer was clean early when he answered West Coast debutant Liam Ryan's opening major and finished with 20 disposals.

"He did some nice things didn’t he early, particularly," Power coach Ken Hinkley said.

"That's what he's done most of the pre-season, so that's good for Dom and hopefully that gives us a little bit more opportunities.

"We didn't score as well as we'd like, but neither side could."

WATCH:Ken Hinkley's full post-match media conference

Ex-Demons forward Jack Watts (one goal) did some clever things despite only having nine touches, but fellow recruits Steven Motlop, Jack Trengove and Lindsay Thomas had little influence.

Power forward Charlie Dixon signalled he is primed for a big season with two majors in the low-scoring affair, while Jasper Pittard was a standout across half-back.

Ryan had the chance to put the Eagles ahead late in the contest but missed an easy set shot, which cannoned into the woodwork.

His athleticism thrilled the crowd and his lively performance will do his round one chances no harm.

Big man Nathan Vardy also pushed his case for the season-opener, booting two goals and taking some strong grabs as a forward-ruck. 

Against his former club, Brendon Ah Chee (10 disposals) was relatively quiet, but the Eagles would have been happy with Jack Redden's efforts in an expanded midfield role.

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Redden had 26 touches and booted a fourth-quarter major, providing strong support for stars Luke Shuey (26, one goal) and Andrew Gaff (35 disposals).

WHAT WE LEARNED
West Coast: Dual Coleman medallist Josh Kennedy is in doubt for the blockbuster season-opener against Sydney and the first JLT clash gave Nathan Vardy a chance to shine playing as a forward-ruck. The ex-Cat impressed with strong hands and straight kicking while playing at full-forward, and could have two avenues into the round one line-up as a back-up ruck or marking target in attack. The Eagles' new-look forward line failed to fire, however there was some promise from Liam Ryan and Jake Waterman. 

Port Adelaide: The Power went on an off-season recruiting spree and coach Ken Hinkley admitted post-match it will take time for the new faces to jell with their teammates. Apart from draftee Dom Barry, playing his first game since 2014 with Melbourne, and Jack Watts, Port didn't get much out of prized free agency signing Steven MotlopJack Trengove or Lindsay Thomas in their debut appearances. Arguably the biggest name of the lot, Tom Rockliff, didn't play due to knee soreness.  

NEW FACES
West Coast: Exciting talent Liam Ryan was the pick of the Eagles' first-gamers, booting the opening goal, flying for marks at every opportunity and generally appearing lively in attack. Playing against his former club, Brendon Ah Chee looked nervous and dropped a soda in the second term before finishing with 10 touches. Brayden Ainsworth was caught holding ball early but competed at every opportunity and would've got a handy education opposed to Ollie Wines in patches. 

Port Adelaide: Former Melbourne midfielder Dom Barry excited in his debut appearance for the Power, showing he could be a valuable addition to an already strong engine room. Jack Watts ran down Brayden Ainsworth in the early stages and he did some typically clever things as a link-up forward. Steven Motlop was quiet and missed a simple running goal he would normally nail late in the third quarter, Jack Trengove had little influence from 11 touches and Lindsay Thomas had a shocker, gathering just four touches.  

NEXT UP 
The Eagles don't play their final JLT Community Series game until March 11 against Fremantle at Joondalup but are organising to take on the Dockers in a practice match next Sunday. Port has a 13-day break before facing the Crows at Adelaide Oval in a pre-season Showdown.

WEST COAST        3.1   4.3   6.6   8.8 (56)
PORT ADELAIDE   4.2   6.2   7.6   8.6 (54)

GOALS
West Coast: Vardy 2, Ryan, Shuey, Yeo, Waterman, Redden, Jetta
Port Adelaide: Dixon 2, Barry, Bonner, Watts, R.Gray, Amon, Dixon 

BEST 
West Coast: Shuey, Gaff, Redden, Yeo, Vardy, Jetta
Port Adelaide: Westhoff, Pittard, Dixon, Amon, Barry, Wines 

INJURIES
West Coast: McGovern (concussion), Ah Chee (ankle)
Port Adelaide: Motlop (calf)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Harris, Rosebury, Findlay

Official crowd: 4317 at Leederville Oval