Eight on the trot has Power soaring

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 08 Juni 2014 | 12.50

Port Adelaide forward Chad Wingard flies over St Kilda's Sean Dempster to take one of the marks of the season. Picture: Peter Argent. Source: Supplied

PORT Adelaide has equalled its longest winning streak since joining the AFL in 1997 after beating St Kilda by 70 points at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.

The club is now on a run as long as when it chalked up eight games in succession from rounds eight and 15 in 2002.

The anticipated chess game between senior coach Ken Hinkley and former right-hand man Alan Richardson didn't last long; when the teams returned from the half-time break the Power just belted the Saints.

Richardson, who is in his first year as coach at St Kilda, looks like he's in for some short-term pain.

The club has injuries to key players and is in a rebuilding phase. The Power ran circles around them last night.

One of the highlights was watching Chad Wingard fly for high marks a week after being taken off on a stretcher when knocked out, another to see how Port can find another level when challenged or being shut down. His mark over Sean Dempster in the 12th minute of the third quarter was one for the highlight reels.

The picture had been more intriguing earlier in the game.

Watch as Chad Wingard takes one of the marks of the season with this cracker against St Kilda

It looked like the previous week, when Port played Melbourne in Alice Springs, in the opening passages: like it was going to be a smashing.

Wingard, who had been under a cloud because of being concussed last week, kicked the first goal in the second minute and it was on.

The Power had most of the ball, most of the chances and kicked all the goals. Add to that Matthew Lobbe's domination in the ruck.

Wingard's was followed by one from in-form small forward-midfielder Robbie Gray, another from the elegantly poised Jared Polec and another from Jackson Trengove.

The only question asked in the stands was Port Adelaide by how much?

But one of the greatest forwards of the modern era, Nick Riewoldt, helped change the picture. He kicked two goals late in the first quarter and suddenly it was on.

Port Adelaide's Hamish Hartlett, Kane Mitchell and Brad Ebert celebrate another goal. Picture: Sarah Reed.

What happened next was concerning for Port, because it has now been studied so closely by opposition sides — and is known in particular to Richarson after his time as coaching director at the club — that it either needs to come up with new tricks or perfect its game plan.

St Kilda, which was backed by virtually nobody with the bookmakers, kicked another couple to knot the scores and then created the long drought.

It took until the 25th minute for the Power to kick its first goal for the second quarter and what had been on display before them was a defensive stand-off.

Port coach Ken Hinkley had predicted it before the match: at times, it would look like two sides mirroring one another and they both sought to clog the centre and force the opposition to take the long route.

It was also an inflationary contest in having more numbers around the ball. But it broke, as it has for Port Adelaide all season.

Hamish Hartlett, who was in rare form, banged through a goal from 55 metres late in the second quarter and was followed by impressive efforts from Jarman Impey and Gray.

St Kilda's Nick Riewoldt sinks his 600th goal in the Saints' disappointing loss to Port

Impey's goal was a treat to watch. He ran from half- back to around half-forward, crumbed cleanly without breaking pace, steadied and kicked a goal you rarely see from young players.

It was the start of an onslaught and at once, Port not only had winners everywhere but also began to play the game on its terms.

Ollie Wines imposed himself in close. Matthew Broadbent mopped up and directed and Kane Mitchell was creating space.

But the excitement was primarily brought by Wingard, whose enterprise, high marking and goalkicking flair had the crowd on its feet.

When Jay Schulz, who by his standards had a quiet game, kicked Port's 12th goal halfway through the third quarter the game was under lock and key.

The Saints just weren't a match for the Power.

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