For the sixth time in seven seasons, Port Melbourne has secured a double chance in the VFL finals series.
With an 18.17 (125) to 9.6 (60) win over Northern Blues on Saturday, the Borough locked away top spot, meaning they will host a qualifying final at North Port Oval in two weeks.
It is a remarkable achievement for the stand-alone club. In an era where AFL clubs put significant resources into their VFL teams, Port Melbourne has continually bucked the trend, building a culture of success despite lacking the facilities, money and full-time environment enjoyed by their AFL-backed rivals.
Only once since 2008 has Port not made the top four. That was last year, when they finished seventh. They were thrashed by 87 points by Williamstown in the semi-final.
With high turnover during the off-season, some thought Port’s time in the sun might be over.
Instead, they sit two games clear atop the table with a round to play.
“It’s an achievement,” coach Gary Ayres said.