TOM Sharp's consistency as a key forward option is playing a major part in Portland's undefeated start to the Hampden league season.
The former coach kicked six goals, including the match-winner, as the Tigers overcame fellow flag contender North Warrnambool Eagles in a thriller at Hanlon Park on Saturday.
Sharp kicked the sealer late in the fourth term, with the 11.7 (73) to 9.14 (68) victory extending the team's winning streak to five.
The clash between two of the competition's heavyweights was engrossing with ebbs and flows in momentum and multiple lead changes.
The Tigers hit the front four minutes into the final term before emerging Eagle Judah Greene kicked two goals in quick succession - one a snap and the other a set shot - to give the visitors an eight-point buffer.
Sharp kicked his fifth to trim the deficit and Tiger teammate Lochie Huppatz, who returned to the club this season, then converted at the 12-minute mark to put them up.
Eagle Felix Jones, playing against his former side, kicked a brilliant goal from the pocket after receiving a free kick to give the Eagles the lead back before Sharp sealed the victory for the home side.
Sharp has kicked 22 goals in the first five rounds - a feat which has come as no surprise to Portland coach Jarrod Holt.
"To his credit he's spent a bit of his own time getting his body right and you can see by the way he's moving and got confidence," he said.
"Whether he's played half-back or in the midfield, he's always been really good in one-on-one situations so he was always going to be a good forward.
"He is really good in the air for a mid-sized player but he's also as good as anyone on the ground."
Holt said the victory fuelled the Tigers' belief they would match it with the best.
"There were questions on us - we'd won our first four but probably hadn't played the top few sides yet," he said.
"We embraced the challenge. We were looking at it that it would be a win-win. We were always going to learn something from it.
"We tried to stick to our style of play and structures to see how it held up against one of the top sides.
"We did a fair bit of stuff not that well during the day which cost us a bit but I thought our willingness was there and the guys have confidence and know they can scrap it out at times."
Eagles coach Adam Dowie said his side "had a fair bit of adversity".
"We knew it was going to be a really big challenge. We had four or five changes to the side and we had a lot of injuries today as well so there were times when we ended up with no one on the bench," he said.
"I am proud of the players in terms of effort. It's funny, I was talking to 'Holty' and he said at times we felt like we were hanging on there and at times I thought we were the same."
Tom Keast (knee) will have scans while Dylan Parish (hamstring tightness), Tom James (ankle), Ben Kellett (ankle), Tate Porter (face) and Joe McKinnon (corked calf) played under duress.
Dowie said Kellett and McKinnon would be OK to face Terang Mortlake next round.
Tiger Zac Stutchbury (corkie) is likely to miss the next round.
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