Australia

Bulldogs’ top-four hopes hang in the balance after narrow loss to Port

A Travis Boak masterclass has powered Port Adelaide to a thrilling two-point victory and placed the Western Bulldogs’ top-four spot in jeopardy.

After conceding the first four goals of the game, Port rallied through star veteran Boak to control most of the contest at an empty Docklands Stadium, but they only grabbed the lead in the dying stages.

Fellow experienced ace Robbie Gray kicked the clutch goal to put the Power in front with five minutes to go before they hung on to win 9.12 (66) to 10.4 (64).

Bulldogs youngster Bailey Smith’s shot at goal with 10 seconds remaining was on target but was punched through for a behind by the Power’s defenders to seal a famous victory.

After appearing on track to claim the minor premiership just a month ago, the Bulldogs will enter the finals on the back of three-straight defeats.

Luke Beveridge’s team will drop to fifth and lose their double chances in the finals if Brisbane defeat West Coast by about 24 points on Saturday.

The Power now look likely to finish second and could host a home qualifying final at Adelaide Oval next weekend.

Boak’s two-goal, 31-possession effort will go down in the annals of Power history as he was the catalyst behind getting his side going in such an important game.

Bailey Smith (left) and Karl Amon compete for the ball during the Bulldogs-Power clash.(

Getty Images: Michael Willson

)

Fellow midfielder Ollie Wines also lifted with a brilliant final three quarters, while Gray, Peter Ladhams and Connor Rozee joined Gray in kicking two goals each.

Key Bulldogs forward Aaron Naughton was reported for a dangerous tackle on Power captain Tom Jonas during the third quarter, but the incident looked likely to draw a financial penalty at worst for the 21-year-old.

The Power’s night was soured somewhat with promising forward Mitch Georgiades subbed out with a hamstring injury, placing extreme doubt on his availability for the finals.

AAP


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