Table-topping Port Adelaide flex muscles against ‘insipid’ Demons

Port Adelaide has reaffirmed its spot atop the AFL table with a 51-point victory over Melbourne at the Gabba.

Coming off one of its worst performances of the year in a 29-point loss to St Kilda, Port moved four points clear of second-placed Brisbane on top of the table with its 12.11 (83) to 4.8 (32) win over the Demons.

Melbourne for its part was coming off a promising four-point loss to the Lions but put forward one of its worst efforts of the year, failing to kick a goal until Christian Petracca slotted a couple of minutes before halftime.

Former Melbourne captain Garry Lyon described the Demons’ first-half performance as “insipid” on Fox Sports and lamented the team’s inability “to hit a target 25 metres away”.

Trailing 6.6 (42) to 1.3 (9) at the long break, the only way was up for Melbourne, and they did manage three majors in the second half, but it was not enough to stop the team from suffering its worst loss for the year.

Rising star Mitch Georgiades kicked three goals, while Travis Boak and Ollie Wines led the way in a powerful midfield unit in the first of four games in 16 days for the club during the competition’s fixture squeeze.

First-round draft pick Georgiades was one of eight goal kickers for Port, and it was a familiar tale for Melbourne as they let themselves down with a deplorable skill level across the ground that made life difficult for their leading forwards.

Tall trio Tom McDonald, Sam Weideman and Luke Jackson were picked to give the Demons multiple marking targets in attack but had limited impact.

Most of the blame lay further up the ground as a succession of turnovers left the forwards and coach Simon Goodwin frustrated.

Petracca had 24 disposals but was part of an on-ball division that repeatedly butchered the ball and was well beaten.

Making matters worse for the Dees, key midfielder Clayton Oliver was reported for striking after he caught Peter Ladhams high with a late elbow.

Cleaner and faster ball movement on the outside gave the Power good scoring opportunities all night and they made most of them count.

Connor Rozee and Justin Westhoff complemented Georgiades with two goals each.

The 18-year-old was taken with pick 18 at last year’s draft despite missing the entire season with a quad injury and has now kicked six goals in his first three games.

Boak had 25 disposals and eight clearances despite hurting his right shoulder, which was already strapped, during the third quarter.

Max Gawn dominated his aerial battle with Port’s back-up ruckman Ladhams, but the Demons failed to make it count and were smashed in inside 50s (47-31).

Port Adelaide faces the tough ask of travelling home and backing up on a four-day break for Monday’s clash with the Western Bulldogs, while Melbourne meets the Crows in Adelaide on Wednesday.