From Ballarat Courier
Reported by Melanie Whelan
Full Story
Click Here

ONE POINT split North Ballarat from Port Melbourne about 20 minutes into the second quarter.
Two late Port goals reasserted the Borough’s edge by half-time in the Victorian Football League clash on Saturday.

Then the Selkirk Roosters fell apart.

Port Melbourne powered up to kick away for an 84-point win at North Port Oval.

Victory has extended Port’s winning streak to 26 matches.

Roosters coach Gerard FitzGerald spent yesterday morning trying to pick apart the differences in his team between a strong second quarter fight and “unacceptable” third quarter, in which Port thumped on 8.4 to 1.1.

“Port Melbourne was about 20-odd points in front of us at one stage in the first quarter and we fought back really well,” FitzGerald said.

“The level we played late in the first and particularly in the second certainly indicated we can match it with the best.

“It’s about making sure our best football is sustainable through four quarters and we’re unable to do that at the moment.”

Port had control in the first quarter, booting four unanswered goals, but the Roosters persisted and kicked two goals within a minute of the siren to claw the margin back to 11 points by the first break.

The Roosters looked good under pressure in the second quarter and matched Port in ferocity at the stoppages and drive up forward.

But they offered little in response when Port amplified its game after the half-time break.

Port booted three goals in three minutes to open the third quarter.

It took nearly 10 minutes before the Roosters replied when Bill Driscoll took a strong contested mark and delivered to Cam Richardson for a successful set shot at goal.

Port emphatically slammed on five unanswered goals to finish the quarter – two resulted from inefficient Roosters’ attempts to kick out of defence.

FitzGerald called on his players to muster resilience in an impassioned speech at the final break.

The Roosters managed four goals. Port notched up another eight.

Almost methodical in delivery up forward, Port continued to sport raw elation with each major kicked.

North Melbourne-listed duo Aaron Mullett (25 disposals) and Cruize Garlett (21) with Myles Sewell worked hard through the midfield.

But Port dominated with captain John Baird (29 disposals), onballer Sam Dwyer (24) and reigning league best and fairest Shane Valenti (27) seizing complete control.

“They won the ball around the stoppages and we weren’t able to answer them in the second half,” FitzGerald said.

“We’ll keep looking at what characteristics we showed in our best performance and identify our shortcomings when we don’t do well.”

The Roosters sit at one win from five matches and must regroup for a lengthy road-trip to Casey Fields in Gippsland next Sunday.

Port Melbourne 26.10 (166)

North Ballarat 12.10 (82)