Port Out Of Foxtel Cup
FRUSTRATION enveloped Port Melbourne’s Foxtel Cup Semi Final against Claremont.
From the time the Borough arrived at airport for their flight west it seemed the football gods had conspired against them.
And, that’s how it panned out when Port Melbourne finally touched down after delays at Tullamarine as well as Perth resulting in travel time being doubled.
If that was not frustrating enough for Port Melbourne then more angst awaited on match day.
Things progressively worsened as an undermanned Port Melbourne, which was no match for reigning WAFL premiers Claremont, whose 50-point win, 13.10 (88) to 6.2 (38) earned them the right to play Werribee for the 2012 Foxtel Cup.
Claremont, coached by former Sandringham rover Marc Webb, gains the opportunity in August to avenge last year’s Foxtel Cup Grand Final loss to Williamstown.
Port Melbourne went into the match without captain John Baird, dual Liston Trophy winner Shane Valenti, dual best and fairest winner Sam Pleming, leading goal kicker Dean Galea as well as six other premiership players.
Power forward Adrian Bonaddio and impressive rookie Mitch Woffindin were also missing.
The Borough team included five players who made their senior debut for the club – Adam Ballard, Toby Plant, Tommy Gordon, Jake Sutcliffe and Jake Allen.
It was left to Stephen Brewer, Hugh Sandilands and Clayton Hinkley to shoulder the load for the inexperienced Borough.
Port Melbourne matched Claremont for the first quarter and 15 minutes of the second quarter in an entertaining, high pressure game with just nine points separating the teams.
Claremont, which included Byron Schammer, Nick Suban and Luke Blackwell in its team, broke the shackles and, seemingly with it Port Melbourne’s spirit, in the final five minutes of the second quarter.
With Anton Hamp providing a strong marking target in attack, Claremont kicked four goals to hold a 34-point lead at half time.
As well as adding scoreboard pressure, Claremont held Port Melbourne scoreless in the second quarter.
It wasn’t until Myles Pitt converted from a mark at eight minute mark of the third quarter did Port Melbourne kick its third goal.
While Port Melbourne added three goals in the final quarter while restricting Claremont to three goals there was never any suggestion that they would issue a legitimate challenge.
An indication of Claremont’s dominance is illustrated in the statistics, which revealed they had 101 more disposals, including 77 more contested possessions, entered their forward 50 metres 16 more times and won five more clearances.
It may have been frustrating for the Port faithful watching back at home, but the emphasis for Ayres was unmistakable - winning back-to-back Peter Jackson VFL premierships.
Ayres took the opportunity of the Foxtel Cup Semi Final to rest many of experienced players while at the same time providing a chance for so many of the young players to audition for senior selection with finals just five rounds away.