Port not fretting over opening quarter - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Port not fretting over opening quarter

By Daniel Brettig 16/06/2006 08:12:55 PM Comments (0)

Port Adelaide coach Mark Williams says he has not placed more emphasis than usual on gaining a fast start against West Coast at AAMI Stadium on Saturday night.

Perhaps this is because Port needs to focus its energies on the finish to vanquish the hard-running, confident Eagles, who have gobbled up deficits of 54 and 44 points in the past two weeks against Geelong and Carlton.

"Every club tries to start well, I'm sure West Coast have been trying to start well and not coming home with a wet sail like they have, but you have to deal with what the opposition do," Williams said.

"You can take something out of it but we don't rely on the first quarter."

Statistics suggest otherwise.

Port has made the most of a rapid start in all but one of its five victories this season.

Only against wooden spooner-elect Essendon did the Power finish grandly, kicking 11.4 in the second half at Telstra Dome.

Over the 11 rounds, West Coast has kicked 95.83 in its second halves, more than 30 goals clear of Port's 66.58.

To win, Port must run this game out more strongly than any other in the season so far and, to that end, the club has picked speedy indigenous player Elijah Ware for his AFL debut and also recalled tagger Domenic Cassisi after a knee injury.

Ware's story is intriguing; he was initially picked up in the 2005 pre-season draft ahead of contemporary and now rising star Danyle Pearce, but had his progress stunted by a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.

He recovered well and five weeks ago was in line for his debut, as an emergency and possible late inclusion against the Western Bulldogs.

Amazingly, Ware did not turn up at the game until it was too late to play, resulting in disciplinary action that made him ineligible until a week ago.

Williams said he felt Ware had learned from his misadventures and was now ready to repay Port's faith.

"He was going to play four or five weeks ago, only problem was he forgot or didn't quite get to our game which was not a good sign," he said.

"You have to have some rules and some discipline and for a young guy who didn't attend to that, he had to do his time back at Centrals and he's played pretty well, so we're happy that's all gone through now and he gets an opportunity.

"We've had some great success with our aboriginal players and we look forward to getting the same rewards we got on grand final day (2004) from our new, incoming aboriginal players."

Arguably the best sub plot of the night will take place in the ruck division, as Brownlow fancy Dean Cox is matched against cagey Power tall Brendon Lade.

"They're great players, there's nothing better than seeing a one-on-one duel like that," said Williams.

"You rub your hands together and think gee this'll be terrific."

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