Power leave it late to down brave Blues

Jason Phelan
Power leave it late to down brave Blues

It was supposed to be all about Carlton champion Kade Simpson in his 300th AFL match at the MCG.

While the veteran enjoyed the spirit shown by his teammates for most of their clash with Port Adelaide on Saturday, ultimately the Power put a dampener on proceedings with a hard-fought 13.12 (90) to 10.9 (69) win.

The brave Blues trailed by just two points at three-quarter time but Port booted the first four goals of the final term to seal the premiership points.

In their first visit to the 'G this season, the Power weren't at their best but strengthened their claims on a top-four finish, improving to a 10-4 record in front of 26,562 fans.

"That's fair. That's what we were. We weren't overly impressive," coach Ken Hinkley replied when asked about the uneven performance.

"We know that.

"(But) then you get a bit disrespectful to the opposition because there were a couple of players out there that were pretty good for them.

"Always in this caper, you're just happy to get the four points and look for some positives, you look for some growth and that's what we'll do again this week."

Robbie Gray wasn't right at the top of his game but kicked three classy goals, Tom Rockliff amassed a team-high 28 possessions, with Chad Wingard (24 touches and two goals) also influential.

Jasper Pittard didn't see out the game. Hinkley reported he felt tightness in a hamstring and hadn't suffered a serious injury.

Simpson became the fifth Blue to reach the 300-game mark and the 34-year-old starred with 37 disposals in his milestone match.

In his first game since suffering a foot injury in round nine, skipper Marc Murphy caught the eye with 27 possessions off half-back, with Patrick Cripps (32 possessions) typically strong at the stoppages.

Charlie Curnow enhanced his growing reputation as the next big thing in the AFL world with four goals and nine marks.

The Power were up by 19 points at halftime but suffered their first scoreless quarter of the season to lead by just two points going into the final term.

An opportunist goal from Steve Motlop sparked the pivotal last-quarter surge that sealed the points for Hinkley's men.

"I thought we played some really good football," Simpson told reporters after the match.

"Our young guys took it right up to them and they're going pretty well, Port Adelaide.

"A couple of patches in that game I thought we really had them ... it was probably only three or four-minute patches where they got a hold of us and that was the ball game."