Port Adelaide have claimed a 57-point win over the Western Bulldogs, whose AFL injury crisis has deepened with six players sustaining injuries on a horror night.
Captain Easton Wood and Brownlow Medal contender Jack Macrae suffered hamstring injuries, Lukas Webb broke his thumb, Tom Boyd dislocated a finger, Marcus Bontempelli hyperextended his knee and Toby McLean had his shoulder smashed in the opening seconds.
Wood and Macrae sat out the second half while the other four managed to play on in the Bulldogs’ 20.12 (132) to 11.9 (75) defeat at Adelaide Oval.
Macrae is in doubt for next Sunday’s clash with North Melbourne, Webb could miss up to three weeks and Wood, the most serious injury, will certainly be out even longer.
Ollie Wines (35 possessions, one goal) and Chad Wingard (30 possessions) were prolific, Robbie Gray (28 possessions, three goals) was particularly electric early and Tom Rockliff (25 disposals, three second-half goals) applied the finishing touches.
“We were pretty good over the course of the whole night bar the second quarter,” Port coach Ken Hinkley said.
“We were pretty dominant in some key stats that we like to look at, so it was a pleasing result.”
After conceding the opening behind, the Power kept the Bulldogs scoreless for the remainder of the term while piling on 5.5 unanswered themselves to hold sway by a commanding 34 points at quarter-time.
Jared Polec’s superb curling goal from the boundary at the 13-minute mark delighted the Power fans who at the time were affording No.13 Todd Marshall a minute-long round of applause.
The young forward was making his return to the side following the death of his father.
The Bulldogs saved face after the break, largely through first-round draft pick Ed Richards who slotted three second-quarter majors, all from free kicks – his maiden AFL goals – as a makeshift forward.
Richards’ exciting cameo helped slice the deficit to 19 points before Dixon goaled after the halftime siren on the back of Wood’s injury to bump Port’s advantage to 25 points.
Mitch Wallis marked and goaled in the opening minute of the third period which the Bulldogs started without Macrae.
Polec nailed his second boundary-hugging beauty from the same members wing towards the Cathedral End – this one even better than his first – to re-ignite the hosts who drew 38 points clear at three-quarter-time.
To their credit, the undermanned Bulldogs were valiant in the final period but the Power were never seriously threatened.
“We’re all disappointed with the first quarter,” Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said.
“The plans we made, we didn’t execute.
“Other than the first quarter, with the injury toll, I was really proud of the way the players fought their way out of it.”