But Port Melbourne fought past its great rival to win Saturday's VFL preliminary final at North Port Oval and progress to this Sunday's grand final at Etihad Stadium, where it will vie for a premiership to go with last year's perfect pennant.
The final margin was 34 points, suggesting a degree of comfort.
But a tense coach Gary Ayres and Port supporters could only relax at the 19-minute mark of the final quarter, when Steve Brewer, the man with the kick of a stallion, bombed a goal from outside the 50m arc.
Port could have taken it beyond doubt earlier in the term, but missed three chances. Adrian Bonaddio, playing his 100th game, sprayed two set-shots, but he atoned at the 12-minute mark to push the lead to 26 points. It was always going to be difficult for the Seagulls from there, and Brewer finally put them away.