PREMIERSHIP-hopeful Port Adelaide has kept in touch with the top four following a comfortable 46-point triumph over an inaccurate Fremantle at Adelaide Oval on Sunday evening.
The Power slotted seven goals to zero during a dominant opening term, but had to call on all of their reserves late to ensure they kicked away to register the 18.7 (115) to 9.15 (69) victory.
POWER v DOCKERS Full match coverage and stats
It was a 12-4 advantage at the clearances in the first quarter that set the tone for Port Adelaide, with Charlie Dixon, Sam Powell-Pepper and Karl Amon dominating at the stoppages to help setup the early ascendancy.
The Power were doing as they liked and a cricket score looked on the cards, with Robbie Gray and Orazio Fantasia getting in on the act to help open up a 50-point lead for the hosts midway through the second stanza.
But led by out of contact star Adam Cerra (27 touches) and veteran duo David Mundy (25 disposals) and Nat Fyfe (20), the Dockers upped the ante and closed to within 28 points at the final break.
Fyfe then booted his second at the start of the fourth quarter to raise further hope, but that was as close as Fremantle could get as Port Adelaide steadied all over the ground to maintain fifth spot on the ladder and remain on the outskirts of the top four.
Experienced duo Ollie Wines (35 disposals and eight clearances) and Travis Boak (31 and seven) were the leading ball winners for Port Adelaide, while Dixon and Powell-Pepper (three goals each) were the main beneficiaries in front of goal.
Cerra led the way for the Dockers with 27 possessions and five clearances, Andrew Brayshaw also battled hard to win 27 disposals, but it was left to too few as the Dockers were left to rue their inaccuracy in front of goal and what once again could have been.
Same old story giving Freo the heave-ho
Fremantle has kicked more goals than behinds just once this season and it was inaccuracy in front of goal that again proved the difference against Port Adelaide, with skipper Nat Fyfe again a major culprit. Fyfe pulled down a massive contested mark into time on in the third quarter and could have brought his team within four goals with an accurate kick. Instead he shot wide as Port Adelaide regained the momentum late to close out the win.
Karl has the detonators...he's on fire!
Underrated midfielder Karl Amon's first term had to be seen to be believed as the left-footer picked up 16 disposals to eclipse fan favourite Kane Cornes (15) for the most disposals in an opening quarter by a Port Adelaide player. Amon certainly slowed down after his hot start, but the 25-year-old has been one of Port's big improvers this year and his 27-disposal game shows he has the makings of a bonafide midfield star.
Port lacking the killer instinct
When you are leading by 40 points at quarter-time and playing in front of a vocal home crowd, you really should be putting the pedal down and cruising to a percentage-boosting victory. But while Port Adelaide played some excellent football at times against the Dockers, they also lost their way during other periods and the home fans certainly let them know. Ken Hinkley will be happy to have banked another four points, but he knows his side still has plenty of work to do if they want to be holding up the premiership cup on the last Saturday in September.
PORT ADELAIDE 7.5 12.5 14.5 18.7 (115)
FREMANTLE 0.7 6.10 8.13 9.15 (69)
Port Adelaide: Dixon 3, Powell-Pepper 3, Ladhams 2, Fantasia 2, Gray 2, Marshall 2, Farrell, Georgiades, Bergman, Amon
Fremantle: Fyfe 2, Colyer, Crowden, Henry, Lobb, Mundy, Schultz, Walters
Port Adelaide: Dixon, Wines, Boak, Amon, Houston, Powell-Pepper
Fremantle: Cerra, Brayshaw, Ryan, Aish, Lobb, Fyfe
Port Adelaide: Burton (knee)
Fremantle: Switkowski (hamstring)
Port Adelaide: Bergman (replaced Burton)
Fremantle: Blakely (replaced Switkowski)
Port Adelaide: Nil
Fremantle: Logue replaced in selected side by Duman
Crowd: TBC at Adelaide Oval