PORTLAND left fellow finals hopeful Terang Mortlake in its wake with a barnstorming second half at its Hanlon Park fortress on Saturday.
The Tigers were three points down at half-time but kicked 11 goals to three after the main break, running out 16.10 (106) to 8.11 (59) winners.
Billed as a classic ‘eight-point’ game, the Tigers’ win pushed them a game clear of the Bloods in fifth spot.
Portland coach Jarrod Holt said it was an emphatic finish.
“In the first half we thought (Steve) Staunton and (Robbie) Hare were dangerous so we tried to push numbers back and thought at half-time it played into their hands a bit,” he said.
“They played well with a loose player across their half-back line and ran forward.
“After half-time we played one-on-one footy and it helped us.”
Terang Mortlake coach Shane Threlfall said the Bloods’ strong start was on the back of its contested work which fell away in the second half.
Threlfall agreed with Holt’s thoughts on the contrasting styles employed in the first and second halves.
“In the third quarter they got the ascendancy but we were still in it at three-quarter-time,” he said.
“In the last quarter the floodgates opened up and their big bodies overran us in the end.
“We were smashed in the contested footy in the last quarter and they started to take strong contested marks despite the wet conditions.”
Threlfall said the loss put Terang Mortlake’s finals push under threat.
“Pre-match I said it was an eight-point game, so it hurts us,” he said.
“We are one game below Camperdown and Portland now.
“We have to get a scalp like Camperdown did against Koroit.”
Portland teenagers Jaydon Stiles and Jay Moody were instrumental in attack, teaming up for seven goals between them, while Dennis O’Loughlin and Beau Bentley stepped up in the final quarter.
Tyson Densley was the Bloods’ best playing across half-back and Staunton kicked five of their eight goals.