Charlie Dixon celebrates a goal during round eight, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

PORT ADELAIDE has extended its winning streak against Essendon to six straight games with a five-point victory on Sunday afternoon despite a late surge from the visitors. 

The Bombers gave absolutely everything at Adelaide Oval, but the Power ultimately finished on top 12.20 (92) to Essendon's 13.9 (87). 

Junior Rioli has an anxious wait, however, with a flailing arm likely to come under MRO scrutiny for catching Bombers defender Jordan Ridley high in the second quarter, causing him to be subbed out of the game with concussion. 


Port Adelaide midfield duo Zak Butters and Connor Rozee got the home side going thanks to their aggressive decision making and neat skills in execution. Butters finished with 28 disposals, seven clearances and 615m gained, while Rozee registered 30 disposals, six intercepts and a goal. 

When in control, Port Adelaide looked sleek and fast, propelled by the likes of Butters and Travis Boak. The home side was creating plenty of opportunities in attack, but simply couldn't get the result on the scoreboard with conversion the biggest issue for the opening three quarters. 

POWER v BOMBERS Full match coverage and stats

The Power put Essendon's defensive unit under immense pressure for most of the day, sending the ball into attack 65 times to Essendon's 47. The Bombers' defensive unit stood strong despite the onslaught, with Brandon Zerk-Thatcher admirable on Charlie Dixon and Andy McGrath offering plenty of rebound. 


Essendon's game was built around centre stoppages, and the combination of Sam Draper and Andrew Phillips in the ruck gave silver service to the Essendon midfield. As a result, the Bombers won the first eight centre clearances to finish the day with 19-9. Jake Stringer was responsible for six of those centre clearances to go with his 18 disposals and two goals. 

Such dominance at centre stoppages early allowed the Bombers to exploit the strength of Kyle Langford and Sam Weideman in one-on-one matchups up forward as the pair combined for four goals in the opening half. It wasn't to last, however, as Ridley's substitution forced Langford to the backline for the remainder of the game. 


Dylan Shiel was key to Essendon's early transition inside 50 with 13 disposals in the opening half but was largely nullified by Willem Drew after the main break, only gathering a further six touches after that. 

A heavy knock to Port Adelaide captain Tom Jonas saw him substituted out with chest soreness in the third quarter, and the club also had a scare with Butters coming off with a knee concern late but he was able to return to the field soon after. 


Rioli in hot water 
Port Adelaide's Junior Rioli will be sweating on the results of the match review after a high hit on Jordan Ridley saw the Essendon defender leave the ground in the second quarter. A stray arm off the ball caught Ridley across the left cheekbone and caused the Bomber to hit the deck. As a result, Ridley was subbed out of the game, further thinning Essendon's tall stocks. 


Two forward-half games make a whole spectacle
Both teams were reliant on a forward-half game, albeit in differing ways. Essendon worked to be fast and powerful out of the centre, getting the ball forward and making the most of one-on-ones created by the 6-6-6 rule. Meanwhile Port Adelaide had to work a little harder to get it into attack but once there, used immense pressure to maintain territory and create repeat stoppages. 

Misfiring Power 
In a game where Port Adelaide spent much of it on top, the side didn't hit the lead until late in the third term. Jeremy Finlayson played a masterful role everywhere except in front of goal, kicking 1.4 for the day. Charlie Dixon had a tough battle on his hands with Brandon Zerk-Thatcher but kicked two goals from four shots, and the midfield group were guilty of several wayward running shots.  


PORT ADELAIDE          3.4    5.11    9.16   12.20 (92) 
ESSENDON                   6.1    9.1     11.3   13.9 (87) 

Port Adelaide: Byrne-Jones 2, Dixon 2, Rioli 2, McEntee, Marshall, Powell-Pepper, Boak, Finlayson, Rozee 
Essendon: Stringer 2, Langford 2, Weideman 2, Perkins 2, Caldwell, McDonald-Tipungwuti, Hobbs, Merrett, Menzie 

Port Adelaide: Butters, Rozee, Bergman, Boak, Finlayson 
Essendon: Merrett, Stringer, Draper, Parish, McGrath 

Port Adelaide: Jonas (chest soreness), Butters (right knee) 
Essendon: Ridley (concussion) 

Port Adelaide: Francis Evans (replaced Tom Jonas in the third quarter) 
Essendon: Jye Menzie (replaced Jordan Ridley in the second quarter) 

Crowd: 36,247 at Adelaide Oval