Gold Coast bow before the Power

Matthew Lodge

Port Adelaide has continued its dream start to season 2013 with a 38-point win over a disappointing Gold Coast Suns outfit on Saturday night at Metricon Stadium.

Sitting undefeated and equal first with Essendon and Geelong, the Power flustered a Gold Coast team that had been super competitive in the opening three rounds but got a big reality check on its home turf.

Outside commendable performances came from Suns’ skipper Gary Ablett Jnr and teenage prodigy Jaeger O’Meara. It was a disappointing night for Gold Coast, who rued another second quarter lapse in which Port Adelaide piled on nine goals.

As had been the case the previous week in their two-point loss to Brisbane Lions, it was the Suns’ inability to convert opportunities and maintain defensive concentration that cost them the game at a vital stage.

After an even first term, the Power took control of the game and never looked back.

Ablett starred with 35 possessions (33 uncontested), giving Power tagger Kane Cornes nightmares with a 15-possession opening term.

O’Meara showed maturity beyond his years, curtailing Port Adelaide captain Travis Boak to just 18 disposals, while the youngster grabbed 21 possessions and a goal.

For the visitors, Hamish Hartlett was best afield finishing with 29 disposals, his three second-quarter goals the catalyst for the Power’s domination.

Port Adelaide Coach and former Suns assistant coach Ken Hinkley described Dom Cassisi’s switch over to Ablett as significant as the former skipper kept the bald maestro to just 19 touches for the final three terms. Port Adelaide forwards Jay Schulz (four goals) and Justin Westhoff (three) were also a handful for the Suns’ defence, further exposed when Joel Wilkinson hurting his ankle and Matthew Warnock his shoulder succumbed to injury through the match.

Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna was at a loss to describe his team’s significant lapse. ‘We started really well,’ McKenna said at his post-match press conference. ‘It’s hard to explain. We’ve sorted out our starts and we outscored them in the second half. To be outscored 9.3, it is unlike the Gold Coast, even in the first two seasons.

‘I certainly didn’t smell that at quarter time. I thought the boys’ efforts and intensity in this game and the season has been really good. You back off one step, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing against, you get exposed, and we got exposed.’

The Suns next travel to Canberra to take on the winless Greater Western Sydney Giants on Saturday afternoon.

The final score: Port Adelaide 16.8.104 defeated Gold Coast Suns 9.12.64.

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