Story

From the Port Phillip Leader
Reported by Paul Amy
Full article - Click here

Conditions were miserable. It was body-numbing cold and sheets of water covered the ground.

Port Melbourne supporter Ian Bryce has been watching the Borough since 1946 and couldn't recall North Port Oval being so heavy.

The ball rarely bounced. Mostly it skipped across the surface, like a pebble over a pond. Players often slipped as they pursued it.

But Port, with strength and desperation, put aside the rugged setting to give one of its most convincing performances of the season and hand its great rival Williamstown a thrashing in the Round 14 VFL match on Saturday.

The Seagulls had the best of the first term and led at quarter time. But they could add only four behinds in the following three quarters.

On a day when goals were always going to be as valuable as gold, Port added 12 more and wound up winning by 69 points.

Experienced Boroughs Toby Pinwill, Shane Valenti, John Baird and Chris Cain led the way, strong bodies banging in to win the ball and move it forward by whatever means necessary to gain ground. It was no day for finessing.

Port gained control with a sterling second quarter. It featured a snazzy slide and pick up from Nathan Batsanis and a torpedo from Julian Rowe that must have travelled 80m, through the air and on the deck. From it, first-gamer Sam Raru, looking resplendent in blue boots, won a free kick for holding the ball and slotted a crucial goal from a tight angle.

Rowe had an excellent match, kicking three goals in the second half to go with three from the clever Danny Hughes.

Spearhead Dean Galea kicked two against his former club and was front-and-centre in a scrap after the three-quarter-time siren. Every player was involved in scenes reminiscent of the heyday of the old VFA.

Port coach Gary Ayres said his team was ``absolutely magnificent'' and applied ``finals-type pressure''.

``The players were committed. That spirit that I thought was not quite there came back in abundance today,'' he said.

``No doubt the conditions suited some of our boys, but what I looked at was the overall way we played.

``'Our discipline was something that pleased me a heck of a lot.''

Willy coach Peter German lamented his side's inability to make the most of its early opportunities. But he said the Seagulls couldn't match Port's effort.

Port Melbourne 2.1 5.3 9.5 13.10 (88)

Williamstown 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.7 (19)

Port Melbourne goals: Hughes 3, Rowe 3, Galea 2, Whelan 2, Pinwill, O'Sullivan, Raru. Best: Cain, Baird, Pleming, Rowe, Pinwill, O'Sullivan

Williamstown goals: Howard, Markovic. Best: McCallum, Austin, Wheeler, Jolley, Campbell, Lockwood

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