Gray hurt as Port slams Suns

Gray hurt as Port slams Suns

ROBBIE Gray’s 250th AFL game lasted less than two quarters but by then Port Adelaide had already done enough as Gold Coast narrowly eclipsed their lowest total in club history.

The Suns dodged that humiliation but their struggles were still laid bare in a 12.9 (81) to 4.7 (31) thumping that was a formality thanks to seven straight Port goals in the first half.

Ollie Wines (44 disposals) was one short of Peter Burgoyne’s club record for disposals while Charlie Dixon, Aliir Aliir and Connor Rozee toyed with a Suns side that conceded 10 goals on intercepts.

Gray exited midway through the second quarter of his milestone game with a suspected medial ligament strain in his left knee that will require scans.

Port’s Lachie Jones (hamstring), Suns captain David Swallow (head knock) and Lachie Weller (hamstring) were also casualties as Gold Coast failed to respond after last weekend’s limp loss to Fremantle.

It was the Suns’ (4-9) fifth loss from their last six games since defeating Collingwood at the MCG and leaves them three wins outside the eight and still searching for a maiden finals appearance.

Port’s bounce-back victory after a loss to Geelong last week leaves them in fifth (9-4) and three wins clear of ninth, with coach Ken Hinkley confident a big scalp isn’t far away.

“It hasn’t been perfect for us but I reckon we are starting to look and feel like a really good team without getting the results that we want,” he said.

“Good teams are able to do what we’ve been able to do at the moment, which is not play perfect but win.”

Ben King gave Gold Coast early hope with the game’s first goal, but it was only fleeting as Port kicked the next seven to lead by 40 approaching halftime.

King’s second major – and the Suns’ third – came with 12 minutes remaining to ensure the 20-point total posted against Port in 2017 remained the club’s lowest.

Rozee oozed class, turning the tables on the crafty Izak Rankine with some cheek of his own.

He had already snapped one goal when he pointed to the mark and, once Rankine’s eyes shifted, took off into the space and snapped a second.

The 21-year-old also made a string of influential defensive plays, laying a desperate tackle that led to a terrific Karl Amon goal.

Dixon (two goals) was formidable up front, his dominance helped by key defender Sam Collins’ (ankle) late scratching in what was supposed to be his injury return.

Gold Coast panicked in their ball use as Aliir (12 intercepts) rebounded anything that came in his direction.

Touk Miller battled for his 31 touches while midfielder Matt Rowell (21 touches, 13 contested) showed glimpses in his second game back from a long-term knee injury.

“The heat was on early so we over-handballed and from there went into our shell,” Suns coach Stuart Dew assessed.

“And the last quarter, whether they dropped and we lifted, there was a change in intensity which is really frustrating because if we bring that in the first quarter and it’s a different game.”

© AAP 2021