The West

Strife for Eagles in Power loss
Picture: Lincoln Baker / The West Australian

West Coast are facing a nervous wait over the availability of Darren Glass and Xavier Ellis after suffering their first home defeat of the season in a 14-point loss to Port Adelaide at Patersons Stadium on Saturday night.

Ellis was substituted out of the game in the first quarter and was seen icing his right calf at quarter-time in a possible recurrence of the injury which restricted the former Hawthorn midfielder to two games last season.

Glass will meanwhile face scrutiny from the match review panel over two hits laid on Power forwards in the final quarter.

The first saw him collect Chad Wingard high near the goalsquare, gifting the All Australian forward the goal which gave the Power a healthy last-quarter buffer.

The second was a stray arm which appeared to collect Jay Schulz high in the dying seconds of the game.

The 10.10 (70) to 7.14 (56) win to Port Adelaide was a tale of two halves, with both sides running hard and taking risks early before opting to hold possession and pick their moments late.

Picture: Lincoln Baker / The West Australian.

Former Eagle Brad Ebert was enormous in the midfield for the visitors with 26 disposals and two goals, while Robbie Gray’s two majors in the third quarter proved to be game breakers.

Boom forward Jack Darling continued his stellar form for the Eagles and Priddis was also a factor with his 33 disposals.

Both sides were unchanged going into the game but Port Adelaide’s forward line took on a different flavor, with coach Ken Hinkley leaving Wingard one-out in the goalsquare against Jamie Bennell.

The tactic didn’t reap the instant rewards the Power would have hoped, but they were able to expose the Eagles early with hard running from the home side’s forward 50.

A missed shot from Priddis saw the visitors pounce, with Ebert kicking the opening goal of the game off the back of hard running from free agency recruit Matt White.

Ebert would add another major to his tally minutes later as the Power established an early 19-point lead.

The Eagles were in further strife when Brad Sheppard suffered a poke to the eye and Ellis had to be subbed off with a calf injury.

Robbie Gray's two goals were critical for the Power. Picture: Lincoln Baker / The West Australian.

But once the pace of the game slowed, the Eagles were able to take advantage, with goals to Sharrod Wellingham and Josh Kennedy bringing the margin back to six at the first break.

Priddis and Darling came to the fore for West Coast in the second term, helping turn the contest in their favour.

Priddis alone had 13 touches for the quarter, while Darling laid a number of telling tackles and kicked two goals to give the Eagles a two-point lead at half-time.

The free-running style of the first half disappeared in the second, with both sides opting to hold possession and wait for gaps rather than take the game on.

It was working for West Coast early, with the club’s staunch defence typified by a courageous hard-ball get from Sheppard in the defensive 50 which saved a certain goal to Port.

A goal to Chris Masten after 14 minutes broke the deadlock and gave the Eagles a 10-point lead.

However a two-goal cameo from Robbie Gray swung the lead back in favour of Port and saw them take a one-point lead into the final change.

Picture: Lincoln Baker / The West Australian.

The fourth quarter was a battle of wills, with both sides out on their feet.

Wingard had two chances to extend the Power’s lead but saw one set shot sail go through for a behind and the next sail out on the full.

But as the saying goes, the third time is the charm, and a free kick off an ugly hit from Glass allowed Wingard to nail the goal and put the visitors 14 points up.

West Coast had one final charge when Jamie Cripps snapped from the pack, but a Jay Shulz goal on the 24-minute mark sealed the contest for the Power.


GOALS - WEST COAST: Darling 2; Wellingham, Kennedy, Cox, Masten, Cripps.

PORT ADELAIDE: Ebert, Schulz, R Gray 2; White, Lobbe, Wingard, Hartlett.
BEST - WEST COAST: Darling, Priddis, Bennell, Rosa, Shuey, Naitanui.
PORT ADELAIDE: Ebert, R Gray, Polec, Carlisle, White, Hartlett.
INJURIES – WEST COAST: Ellis (calf), Naitanui (ribs).
UMPIRES: L Farmer, B Rosebury, N Foot
CROWD: 35,366 at Patersons Stadium

The West Australian

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