PORTLAND coach Luke Crane says the Tigers’ thrilling one-point win over Warrnambool on Saturday produced “one of the better feelings we have had”.
The Tigers turned into a defensive power after teenager Connor Giddings put them in front with five minutes to play.
They kept the Blues, who were kicking with the aid of a strong wind, scoreless, holding on for a confidence-boosting triumph in Crane’s return game from a knee reconstruction.
“We were up at three-quarter-time and they kicked three quickly and got in front by about 10 points,” he said.
“To be honest, I thought our heads would drop. But to our credit, we fought back and won.
“Once we got in front, we were quite smart and, for a young group, did things really well. We were emotional on the ground after. It was one of the better feelings we have had after a win.”
Crane said midfielder Daniel Falcone, defender Daniel Jackson and forward Jay Moody were crucial in the result.
Warrnambool coach Matt O’Brien the Blues learned a lesson about defence “the hard way”.
“We managed to get 10 points up and then they managed to pinch two goals against the run of play completely,” he said.
But he praised club debutant Luke Cody for his four-goal effort, midfielder Darcy Graham and defenders Matt Colbert and Tim O’Keeffe.
He also singled out the Blues’ ruck duo, highlighting Dan Weymouth’s tap work and Andrew McCarthy’s marking.