Port snatch win in thriller to dent Dogs’ double chance hopes

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He then exhorted his team to be relentless in everything they did whether the ball was above their outstretched fingertips or bobbling around the ground.

For the first 15 minutes the Bulldogs way appeared as though it would prevail as they jumped Port Adelaide kicking the first four goals of the match. Their pressure rating was 239 points as they attacked the game with a finals-like intensity while Port Adelaide – with their top four spot already won – appeared less desperate.

But this was never going to be an easy win with the Bulldogs’ deficiences more pronounced than Port Adelaide and Port began to work their way back into the contest slowly but surely.

Lycett began to realise that Young, Mitch Hannan and Marcus Bontempelli were not big enough concerns and he opened his arms like a batsman who realises he has a medium pacer’s measure.

The ball kept going Port’s way, but they could only manage one goal in the first half and were 19 points behind at half-time. But they had the game on their terms and entered the second half on the attack kicking the first three goals of the half to level the scores midway through the third quarter.

At that point it appeared as though Port were going to go away with the game but a moment of inspiration arrived through Cody Weightman who played five minutes of football that was reminiscent of Stuart Dew’s cameo in the third quarter of the 2008 grand final, albeit for a lesser prize.

He kicked a goal then found English inside 50 before handballing to Latham Vandermeer in the goalsquare and the lead was again three goals. It was inspirational from Weightman who has proved his worth more than once this season.

Port kept coming but they could never put their nose in front, with Adam Treloar kicking the first goal of the final quarter after taking a nice mark but they stopped running and Port began to find the goals.

Ollie Wines started the run with a brilliant banana goal then Boak before Gray got the job done with Port winning 11 of their final 13 games compared to the Bulldogs who have fallen in a hole in the back half of the season winning just six of their final 12.

If results go to plan they will meet Essendon in the elimination final with Beveridge’s teams never winning the double chance during his reign while Port are likely to play the loser of Melbourne and Geelong.

Best: Western Bulldogs: Hunter, Macrae, Weightman, Daniel, Smith. Port Adelaide: Wines, Lycett, Boak, Amon, Drew

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