Story

From localfooty.com.au and the Port Phillip and Caulfield Glen Eira Leader
Reported by Paul Amy
Full article - Click here

 

 Jenny Tserkezidis

For Port Melbourne, the wait was worth it.

Owing to problems with the surface of the ground, the Borough had to shift their Round 1 and 2 matches away from North Port Oval.

It meant not only giving up two home games to start the season, but delaying the unfurling of the 2017 premiership flag won so thrillingly over Richmond.

Port finally returned to North Port on Saturday, for a Round 6 clash with Footscray, and shortly after 2pm club stalwarts Henry “Pug’’ Tucker and Henry Knight were given the honour of raising the flag.

Almost three hours later the club faithful were clapping again. The Borough posted a 33-point victory, 15.12 (102) to 10.9 (69), after an authoritative second half in which they kicked 10 goals to three.

When Port coach Gary Ayres saw the team sheets he must have been tempted to tap his senior assistant, former league ruckman Peter “Crackers’’ Keenan, on the shoulder and ask, “Couldn’t give us a quarter, could you big fella?’’

The Doggies went in with 200cm Tom Campbell, 205cm Tim English, 200cm Jordan Roughead and 197cm Jackson Trengove, as well as 196cm Nathan Mullenger-McHugh.

Henry “Pug'’’ Tucker and Henry Knight before the unfurling of the flag. Pic: Jenny Tserkezidis

In most positions they appeared to stand over the Borough. At one point in the first quarter 183cm defender Luke Tynan could be seen minding Campbell.

But Port more than had the Doggies covered at ground level, and it had the will to match its skill, as was clear in a passage of play in the third quarter when through sheer desire it worked the ball from half back to the forward line.

There was some glamour to go with the grit.

Anthony Anastasio kicked what will surely stand as one of the goals of the season when, in the third quarter, he took the ball on the boundary in front of coaching boxes, Bulldogs on his hammer. He booted the ball on his left foot, apparently looking for Mitch Wooffindin, but it bounced through, a cracker from the carrot-topped No 19.

It was the type of small-forward’s goal that Port has seen from Robin Nahas. But coach Gary Ayres has switched Nahas to half back this season, and he was best-afield on Saturday with more than 30 possessions, constructing counter-attacks with precise passing and astute switches of play.

Midfielder Isaac Conway has made a rattling start to the season and was in the best again, in conditions that suited his bullocking style.

He applied eight tackles, as did Mack Rivett. Matt Arnot laid nine.

The Borough gave a debut to tall young defender Ethan Phillips, recruited from Oakleigh Chargers, and he had 17 touches. Dylan Van Unen, playing his 100th VFL match, had 16.

Unfortunately for ace Port defender Damian Mascitti, he will be on the sidelines for up to six weeks after his finger was caught in a jumper in a training mishap last Wednesday.

“It ripped the tendon off my left pinky,’’ Mascitti said on Saturday.

“I’ll need surgery early next week to basically reattach it. We’ll go from there.’’