Power wins London exhibition

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 04 November 2012 | 14.43

Port Adelaide defeat Western Bulldogs in a thrilling exhibition match at The Oval in England.

Campbell Heath of of Port Adelaide loses control of the ball in contact with Clay Smith of Western Bulldogs during the AFL European Challenge game in London. Picture: Jan Kruger Source: Getty Images

NEW Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley has started his coaching career with a thrilling one-point victory over the Western Bulldogs in the AFL's exhibition match at The Oval.

A brilliant goal by Power midfielder Brad Ebert from a set shot 50m out near the boundary line with less than a minute to play sealed the victory, 14.4 (88) to 13.9 (87).

At one stage early in the third term, Port trailed by 39 points before unleashing a nine-goal unanswered burst to take the lead midway through the final quarter.

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Much to the delight of the enthusiastic crowd of about 10,000 Londoners, the Dogs snapped out of their funk and kicked the next four goals to seemingly have victory assured.

Port Adelaide players celebrate their victory with the cup after the AFL European Challenge Game against the Western Bulldogs at The Oval. Picture: Christopher Lee Source: Getty Images

But two goals in the final two minutes got Hinkley and the football club a much-needed boost given the horror couple of months they've endured following the death of Port player John McCarthy in Las Vegas in September.

New recruit Angus Monfries kicked three goals while defender Jackson Trengove and acting captain Hamish Hartlett were influential.

"I said to the players before the game that you always want to win and it doesn't matter if it's an exhibition game or anything for us," Hinkley said.

Ayce Cordy of Western Bulldogs spoils a mark for Brad Ebert of Port Adelaide during the AFL European Challenge game in London. Picture: Jan Kruger Source: Getty Images

"We are a club that needs to learn to win a little bit.

"Both sides put on a really good game I think for the fans, to get a one-point game you'd be happy with that from an AFL point of view. We're a bit happier because it was one point our way.

"We've been together three seconds and I'm not sure if we knew what we were doing but the coaching staff that are here have told me all along that there is some talent here to work with and it's nice to see that."

Acting Bulldogs captain Shaun Higgins led the way with three goals while Patrick Veszpremi kicked two as did Liam Picken who provided the highlight of the night with a spectacular mark in the second quarter.

Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney said he used the 16-a-side game as a learning tool for his young players.

"We saw a few get kicked against us and we thought let's see what they do without actually giving them too much help," he said.

Hamish Hartlett of Port Adelaide handballs under pressure from Shaun Higgins of Western Bulldogs during the AFL European Challenge game in London. Picture: Jan Kruger Source: Getty Images

"A couple of the younger guys were a bit slow to react to what was happening, they (Port) played well and got a bit of momentum but we then fought back.

"We weren't doing a lot of coaching, it was just have a look at them and let them run around."

He was pleased with the performance of new recruit Koby Stevens who joined the club from West Coast during the trade period.

"He's going to help our younger midfielders, he has got a strong body as well and looks like he will be a good acquisition," McCartney said.

The victory by Port means they have won the right to be involved in next year's London game with the AFL committed to building its profile in Europe.

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