Port Adelaide got out to a fast start and were never threatened by West Coast in the west. (AAP: Richard Wainwright)
West Coast officially has a weakness – and Port Adelaide has taken full advantage to post a 42-point win in their Good Friday clash in Perth.
In a game that featured periods of driving rain, Port booted nine goals to two in the opening half to set up the 13.17 (95) to 8.5 (53) triumph.
The stunning result came after the Bombers were way too strong for a disappointing Kangaroos outfit at Docklands.
West Coast have proven to be the kings of dry-weather football.
But the shortcomings of the defending premiers have been clear to see when things get slippery.
In round one against Brisbane, West Coast copped a 44-point hammering in greasy conditions at the Gabba.
And against the Power in front of 49,290 fans, West Coast’s big guns could barely fire a shot in the wet and windy conditions.
Key forwards Josh Kennedy, Jack Darling and Oscar Allen managed just one goal between them, with West Coast only avoiding an annihilation courtesy of a five-goal haul to speedster Jack Petruccelle.
In contrast, the slick and fast Power had 10 different goalkickers in a dazzling team display.
The Power led by 49 points by halftime – an astonishing figure given the downpour in the first half.
Some Eagles fans left the stadium at that point, such was their dismay at how poor West Coast were playing.
The six-goals-to-one second term tore the game wide open, with West Coast’s defence unable to cope with the constant Power raids in the driving rain.
With tall timber Kennedy, Darling, Allen, Tom Hickey and Nathan Vardy proving to be ineffective in the wet, Port Adelaide cashed in.
Former Eagle Brad Ebert and Xavier Duursma booted two goals each in the first half, while Willem Drew snapped a ripper from the pocket as lightning flashed in the background.
Darling had a moment of madness just before halftime when he gave away an off-the-ball free kick and then a 50m penalty for slinging Paddy Ryder to the turf.
West Coast showed a bit more fight in the second half when the rain stopped, but the game was already over.
Power co-captain Ollie Wines was superb with 35 disposals, seven clearances and a goal, while Tom Rockliff, Sam Gray, and Sam Powell-Pepper were also influential.
Eagles skipper Shannon Hurn and Brad Sheppard fought valiantly in defence, while Petruccelle’s pace helped him to boot his career-high five goals.
But West Coast boasted few other winners in a game where Port Adelaide won the inside-50m count 69-38.
The result leaves both Port Adelaide and West Coast with 3-2 records.
Bombers thump Kangaroos at Docklands
Joe Daniher (in the air) was a late addition for Essendon and he kicked two goals in the Bombers’ win over North. (AAP: Julian Smith)
After springing a selection stunner, Essendon have scorched a hapless North Melbourne to claim Good Friday honours with a 58-point thrashing at Docklands.
Boom recruit Dylan Shiel led a dominant Essendon midfield as the Bombers prevailed 17.14 (116) to 7.16 (58) to post their third straight win and put the blowtorch on the Kangaroos.
Any doubts that Essendon have their season well and truly back on track were put to bed in the second quarter when the irresistible Dons piled on five goals in 10 minutes.
The Bombers led by six goals at halftime and extended their lead to 60 points midway through the third term.
Shiel (36 disposals, 10 inside-50s, five score assists), Zach Merrett (39 touches) and Dyson Heppell (32 disposals) had their way against a sluggish Kangaroos midfield, while Orazio Fantasia (four goals) was dynamic up forward.
Joe Daniher booted two majors in his comeback after being named as a shock late replacement for Zac Clarke (calf).
Tough questions are bound to be asked of North Melbourne and 10th-year coach Brad Scott after another insipid performance left the Kangaroos at 1-4.
Essendon’s scintillating speed and damaging ball movement was accentuated by a Kangaroos side that too often looked lethargic and unwilling to take the game on.
Skipper Jack Ziebell was among the Roos’ worst culprits, gathering just six disposals.
Arguably the greatest drama came before the opening bounce when the Bombers confirmed Daniher’s inclusion, reversing their initial plan to bring him back through the VFL.
The AFL confirmed Essendon will be fined —potentially as much as $20,000 — because Daniher wasn’t in the Bombers’ 22 or one of four emergencies listed for the match.
Playing in his first game since round seven last season after overcoming groin and calf injuries, Daniher looked rusty at times but had Essendon fans on their feet when he unloaded a stunning set shot from 60m out in the final term.
The Bombers lined up without either of David Zaharakis (knee) or Devon Smith (managed) but will be hopeful of welcoming them back for the Anzac Day clash with Collingwood.