NORTH Warrnambool Eagles coach Adam Dowie says Dion Johnstone's ability to play at either end of the ground is an asset as they strive for a double chance come Hampden league finals.
Johnstone kicked three goals at Bushfield Recreation Reserve on Saturday as the Eagles leapfrogged Portland in third spot with four rounds to play.
Dowie said Johnstone's efforts in the 11.17 (83) to 5.4 (34) victory were impressive.
"We have toyed with playing him at half-back - he played there a few weeks ago and played pretty well," he said.
"But he's probably a forward. He showed a lot of energy and that pressure. It's funny watching him at training because he'll run hard when we have the ball but if we are doing match sim and the opposition has the ball, he finds an extra gear.
"He's prided himself on being a defensive forward and that's probably why he ended up at (AFL club) Melbourne. His field kicking is really good too. We have been trying to get the ball in his hands more."
The Eagles drew level on premiership points with the Tigers but their superior percentage (246.15 to 134.03) has them in the box seat to earn the double chance.
"In terms of what it means in terms of the context of the season, it's a pretty massive result," Dowie said.
A fast start helped the Eagles to a commanding 34-point quarter-time lead as repeat entries, despite a congested forward 50, paid off.
Their ability to hit targets in the wet and muddy weather pleased Dowie.
"We played pretty well in these conditions," the freshly re-signed coach said.
"We have guys who like playing in the heavy conditions - you've got Tate Porter, Matt Wines and Jett Bermingham.
"He doesn't look like that type of player but he loves it."
Portland coach Jarrod Holt, who lamented the Tigers' poor start, said there were "things we need to do better".
"We have been up and down with our form," he said.
"It seems to be if we execute our skills well, we play well and if we can't, we don't play well.
"Our pressure early in the year on the opposition was really good and we've probably let that slide a bit which we need to work hard on.
"It's not all doom and gloom but we expectations are a bit higher for us this year than they have been in the past which is a good thing. In the past we'd probably come over here, have that result and to be honest be happy with it."
Connor Peters hurt his achilles and "was limping around at the end".
"Hopefully it's not too bad," Holt said.
"He said it was a bit tight and thought he could go back on but as soon as it cooled down it got pretty tight.
"He might need a couple of weeks off."
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