Adelaide Oval witnessed a special moment for Port youngster Todd Marshall, who tragically lost both his parents in the last six months.
Fans stood as one to applaud the 19-year-old in the 13th minute of the first term after he lined up a shot for goal.
There was a minute of applause after he lined up and took the shot in the first term, despite the young gun unfortunately only managing a minor score after the ball hit the post.
Bruce McAvaney was touched after Bulldogs star Hayden Crozier came up and patted him on the jersey in a wonderful show of support for his rival player.
“What a lovely touch, and that is a lovely touch as well from the Western Bulldogs,” McAvaney said.
The Port players were riding the wave of emotion as they took control of the match against the Western Bulldogs.
Port tear down injury-ravaged Dogs
Port Adelaide have claimed a 57-point win over the Western Bulldogs whose injury crisis has deepened with captain Easton Wood and Brownlow Medal contender Jack Macrae suffering hamstring problems.
Wood hobbled off clutching his right hamstring just before half-time and Macrae hurt his left during warm-ups after the interval as the Bulldogs slumped to the 20.12 (132) to 11.9 (75) defeat at Adelaide Oval.
It was their fourth successive loss.
The toll could have been even worse for the Dogs with Toby McLean having his shoulder crunched by Robbie Gray in the opening seconds and Marcus Bontempelli exiting with a knee scare late but both played on.
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.
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 – after being swung forward.
Richards’ exciting cameo helped slice the deficit to 19 points before Dixon goaled after the half-time 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.