Buddha blasts backline

Sportal August 26, 2012, 10:07 am
Jackson Trengove

Getty Images © Enlarge photo

Port Adelaide's leaky backline came under fire from caretaker coach Garry Hocking following the Power's 11-point loss to Brisbane at AAMI Stadium on Saturday.

The home side's back six conceded several goals through lack of attention and ill-discipline, not to mention bad timing as the Lions racked up seven majors during the time-on periods across the four quarters to Port's two.

Tall Lions forward Jordan Lisle goaled courtesy of a 50m penalty against Tom Logan late in the first term and Claye Beams converted following a 50m early in the second, then Jonathan Brown slotted a free shortly after a blatant push from Alipate Carlile.

When they weren't being infringed on, the likes of Brown (four goals), Dayne Zorko (three) and Josh Green (three) regularly were given too much latitude.

"At times I was disappointed with all our backs," Hocking said. "Our small backs at times struggled to defend Zorko and Green.

"We've got to do a bit more work there.

"An odd fumble, a dropped mark, a missed set shot just places greater emphasis on your midfield to win the ball back and your backline to be able to defend."

In a game of rash momentum swings, Port's midfield helped the home side transform a 14-point half-time deficit into a 13-point three-quarter time lead.

The Power had more possessions, clearances, hit-outs and drew level in inside 50s, but were completely steamrolled by a hungrier Brisbane side in the final stanza.

Over the past four weeks, Port unacceptably have been outgunned 26 goals to seven in fourth quarters, losing each time from winnable positions.

"It was extremely frustrating," Hocking said. "We thought we had a great chance to win the game.

"We started really well again, which was pleasing.

"But we just can't sustain the effort for four quarters."

There were plenty of positives for the Power.

Before suffering hamstring cramps late, Matthew Lobbe put in a lion-hearted effort in the ruck against experienced Lions counterpart Ben Hudson, while Travis Boak (25 touches, 13 clearances), Brad Ebert (31, nine) and Chad Wingard (26, six) were prolific all over the ground, Wingard's performance arguably the finest of his short career to date.

"Wingard had an opportunity to play forward and around the football," Hocking said.

"We thought it was a great opportunity for him to get in and get his hands dirty, in and around the ball.

"He showed some real class and poise."

With finals long out of the equation, Hocking used Saturday's hit out to dabble in some novel player experimentation in search of his maiden win at the helm.

"Regular first-choicer Danyle Pearce was employed as Port's sub, regular full-back Carlile was thrown up forward at times in the second half, Justin Westhoff spent more prolonged spells in the ruck than usual and David Rodan was used extensively across half-back.

"Three weeks ago I said there was going to be a bit of change to the ball movement and also going to be some positional change for our players," Hocking said.

"(It) gives them the opportunity to experience different parts of the ground.

"Hopefully they're better for that going forward."

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