Demons survive fast finish from Port to win
A five goal haul by recalled forward Brad Miller has inspired Melbourne to a thrilling one-point triumph over Port Adelaide in the AFL match in Darwin on Saturday night.
Miller’s career best return capped the Demons’ fourth win of the season, prevailing 17.9 (111) to Port’s 16.14 (110) at TIO Stadium.
Melbourne led by 33 points at three-quarter time but had to survive a late rally from a fast finishing Port, who kicked eight goals to three in the last stanza but ultimately fell short.
The decisive point came with a minute remaining when the Demons rushed a behind from a ball up in their goal square, which proved the clincher.
Miller has not featured in Melbourne’s side since round one but made a stunning return – his goalkicking nous supported by teammate Jamie Bennell’s four majors and Brad Green’s three goals.
In stark contrast, the fancied Port outfit struggled to find a consistent scoring avenue until the last term, with onballer Travis Boak (25 disposals) and goalsneak Cameron Hitchcock each snaring three goals.
Boak was a standout for Port, whose fourth loss of the year blew a chance to firmly entrench themselves inside the top eight.
Demon Aaron Davey was at his creative best in collecting 26 possessions, ably supported by the midfield grunt of Jack Trengove (24 disposals) and veteran James McDonald.
The Demons, playing a nominal home game in Darwin, kicked five goals to Port’s one in the third term to seemingly seal the result.
But Port’s fighting qualities were evident in a tense last quarter – the Power hit the front twice, only for Green to level the scores with less than four minutes remaining.
Those final minutes were hectic, with Demon ruckman Mark Jamar taking a mark five metres from goal only for an umpire to declare the ball touched and call for a ball-up – from which Jamar and a leaping Trengove rushed the game defining point.
Some 8848 people attended the Darwin fixture which left Melbourne coach Dean Bailey delighted with his team’s survival.
“The momentum was against us for ten or 15 mins, we couldn’t get the ball, everything they touched turned to gold and the boys hung in there,” Bailey said.
“I think at three quarter time they obviously decided it was an full out attack to try and win the game, and the momentum just built and built, we couldn’t break it.
“But in saying that, in the last two or three minutes our boys were still running the game out.”
Port coach Mark Williams took no solace from his side’s storming finish.
“I thought we played terribly … all credit to Melbourne, they began the quarters brilliantly and we were chasing and trying to make something up all night,” he said.
“It was a really disappointing result and I really don’t care about losing by a point – we were smashed all night, we played one good quarter.”© AAP 2013
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