Alipate Carlile
Alipate Carlile

Port Adelaide coach Matthew Primus hinted Hawthorn were responsible for much of the bitterness and niggle evident in the Hawks' 46-point victory over the Power at AAMI Stadium on Sunday.

In-form duo Danyle Pearce and Hamish Hartlett came in for plenty of extra physical attention from Liam Shiels and Brad Sewell respectively, and as a result the Port duo's output was well down on their recent high standards.

Pearce was felled on a number of occasions and was involved in a lengthy outer-wing wrestling match with Shiels, while Hartlett copped incidental hits to the jaw from Lance Franklin and Paul Puopolo, after Shiels and Grant Birchall had earlier roughed him up.

"That's just how Hawthorn play," Primus said.

"They were at us and there was a bit of niggle.

"They were up on the scoreboard and it was an important game for them.

"As Clarko (Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson) said, it was a danger game for them, so they were certainly up for the battle."

Despite the fact his side copped such a touch up and saw their three-game winning streak come to an end, Primus did not hide his admiration for Hawthorn and he wants his developing group to aspire to emulate them.

"They just outclassed us," Primus said.

"They brought a lot of pressure that we thought they'd bring.

"That's something they don't get respect for - they certainly come at you and bring a bit of heat to the ball carrier and the outside guys.

"We weren't clean with our ball by hand or foot.

"It shows us the level we have to get to and the level we aspire to get to ... not that we're going to play exactly like Hawthorn do.

"Not many teams do, because they're not capable of doing it."

Port were smashed early, conceding seven first-term goals en route to a 25-point quarter-time deficit which did not stop growing until three late Power majors at the death.

The home side was delivered a blow with the late withdrawal of defensive half-forward Matt Thomas (corked thigh), who would no doubt have dished out plenty in what was a niggling contest.

Primus, who rates Thomas a 50-50 chance of fronting the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium this Sunday, believes his charges would have learnt a lot from watching the classy Hawks go about their business.

"We learnt some great lessons from a very, very good team," Primus said.

"For our young midfield group, there were some great lessons and some great footage to watch over the coming days.

"There's a gap between where Hawthorn are (and us). I think Hawthorn are one of the top teams in the competition.

"We want to get there quickly."

Sportal

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