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Port have too much Power for Kangaroos

Port coach Ken Hinkley was pleased with his side’s game.

“It was a good performance. We won by six goals. Sometimes you get too critical and we’re going OK,” Hinkley said.

It is tough to identify North’s game plan, let alone periods in the game where they seem coherent in how they’re trying to beat their opposition.

Shaw’s best period with North, towards the end of 2019 when he was caretaker coach, was built off strong work at contests.

This effort in the clinches is usually there for the Kangaroos, but beyond that they’ve not shown what else it is they’re good at.

Players like Mason Wood and Marley Williams did little to improve their reputations, while Jared Polec, back from a period banished from the side, was serviceable.

Two positives for North Melbourne were the performances of Ben McKay and Luke Davies-Uniacke.

Luke Davies-Uniacke marks for the Kangaroos and was one of their better players.

Luke Davies-Uniacke marks for the Kangaroos and was one of their better players.Credit:Getty Images

McKay played on the man-mountain Charlie Dixon and did well on him, despite the Port forward kicking two goals.

One came from a mark inside 50 and another when Dixon won a one-on-one contest despite failing to grasp a mark, but other than that McKay stifled his influence fairly well.

Davies-Uniacke was dynamic and quick around clearances and carrying the ball in space, something lacking among their other midfielders, especially in the continued absence of the bullocking Ben Cunnington.

Shaw said he was pleased that his side won the second and fourth terms, but that he was still disappointed with the loss.

“We just played the type of footy we know we can play,” Shaw said of those periods.

“We’re a really good contest team when we are up and going and our contest work was pretty good tonight.

“We matched them for long periods of time in that area and we played some forward half footy we haven’t played for some time.”

The rest of the season for the Roos will continue to be a rehearsal for many players trying to maintain their spot at a club that looks like it will change plenty of personnel.

The second quarter was one of the dullest of any game for 2020. It was an arm wrestle but not a compelling one. Both defences were set well although this seemingly came at the expense of good attacking ball movement.

Ollie Wines keeps a close eye on the ball as he kicks a goal.

Ollie Wines keeps a close eye on the ball as he kicks a goal.Credit:Getty Images

A decision by Aaron Hall in the middle of the quarter epitomised this malaise.

The former Gold Coast Suns player had a one on one in the forward 50 as he held the ball on the wing, but instead of kicking long to that contest he chose a safe option 15 metres away.

It allowed Port’s defence to flood back and the Kangaroos had missed their moment.

Port were guilty of mistakes going forward too, only scoring three behinds for the quarter to North’s one goal.

Zak Butters faces a nervous wait for Sunday’s match review officer findings.

He elected to bump Jy Simpkin in the third quarter instead of tackling him, and the point of the Power youngster’s shoulder whacked his opponent in the face.

Simpkin looked instantly groggy and was ruled out of the game due to concussion.

NORTH MELBOURNE 1.2 2.2 4.4 6.6 (42)
PORT ADELAIDE 4.2 4.5 10.8 11.12 (78)

GOALS
North Melbourne: Walker, Hall, Larkey, Zurhaar, Goldstein, Wood.
Port Adelaide: Dixon 2, Wines 2, Amon, Rozee, Boak, Butters, Gray, Powell-Pepper, Motlop.
BEST
North Melbourne: Davies-Uniacke, Higgins, Dumont, Hall.
Port Adelaide: Wines, Boak, Rockliff, Amon, Butters, Lycett.
UMPIRES Stephens, Brown, Rebeschini
CROWD 592 at Metricon Stadium

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