Port Adelaide deal blow to Bombers' finals hopes
ESSENDON'S hopes of sealing an AFL finals berth have been hit by Port Adelaide, who led from start to finish for a thumping 59-point victory in their Marvel Stadium clash on Saturday.
The Bombers were flying high on the back of five successive wins and could have all but locked in a top-eight position, but 10th-placed Port had plenty of the line and played like their season depended on it in their 19.12 (126) to 9.13 (67) victory.
The visitors got off to the best possible start through veteran Robbie Gray, who booted two of his four goals for the day as they raced to a 16-point lead, as Essendon continued their trend of poor opening quarters.
Gray earned the wrath of a Bombers fans during the second quarter when he came from behind and bumped Orazio Fantasia while the Essendon star was on his knees.
Soon after, Gray went down in a tussle with Mason Redman, with Port awarded a 50m penalty that allowed Travis Boak to kick from right in front just before the siren to maintain the 16-point lead at the main break.
One wag was quick to jump online to edit Gray's Wikipedia entry to read as Robert "Weak Dog" Gray.
The Power snuffed out any chance of an Essendon fightback with a six goal to three third quarter to open up a 35-point advantage as young guns Connor Rozee and Xavier Duursma did plenty of damage.
Duursma kicked the first goal of the term with a banana effort off the side of his boot and then delivered a bow-and-arrow celebration, which drew a smile from coach Ken Hinkley.
In the third term alone, fellow 19-year-old Rozee contributed 10 disposals, three marks and three inside 50s, and kicked 2.2.
Port continued to pile on the misery in the final quarter and kept the Bombers to just one goal, kicked by Jake Stringer after 15 minutes.