ENIGMATIC Justin Westhoff has triggered a scoring avalanche for Port Adelaide to down reigning premiers Richmond by 14 points in their AFL game. Westhoff kicked three goals in Port’s 10.12 (72) to 8.10 (58) victory on Friday night at Adelaide Oval.
The 237-gamer sparked the Power to a seven-goal second-term blitz, laying the platform for a seventh win of the season.
Port are two wins inside the top eight ahead of weekend games, and have a game in hand on rivals after already having their mid-season bye. An off-key Richmond slipped to a third loss of the year — all interstate — but remain in second spot.
The Tigers paid the price for a sloppy second quarter when Port scored seven goals to two.
The hot-and-cold Westhoff booted two goals in 90 seconds to launch Port’s spree: from seven points down at quarter-time, the Power went into halftime 23 up. The Tigers crept within 11 points in the final term but Port, despite kicking just one goal in the second half, held their collective nerve. Westhoff finished his stellar game with 23 disposals and four inside 50s, while Robbie Gray and Sam Gray slotted two goals each.
Their teammates Ollie Wines (29 disposals) and Sam Powell-Pepper (28 touches) provided the grunt work around the packs, with Chad Wingard (31 possessions) and Jared Polec (28 touches) also busy.
Alex Rance copped a massive spray from a Port Adelaide fan who briefly stole the show. The vocal punter, while lambasting the Richmond defender, accidentally threw a piece of jewlery onto the field before immediately changing his tune and calling out to players to help him retrieve it.
Port’s defence, with Darcy Byrne-Jones (21 disposals) prominent, largely held sway although Richmond spearhead Jack Riewoldt was a menace with three goals and Shane Edwards sharked two in two minutes in the first term.
Goalsneak Jason Castagna also potted two majors to offer his side hope — his second, some eight minutes into the final quarter, reduced the Tigers’ deficit to 11 points.
But neither side could score another major as Port held on to delight their parochial 39,936-strong crowd.
The Tigers were missing Brownlow medallist Dustin Martin (calf) and five other premiership players and captain Trent Cotchin (20 disposals) was unable to shoulder the midfield load.
Kane Lambert (26 disposals), Jayden Short (25 possessions), Shaun Grigg (24 touches) found plenty of the ball, while Reece Conca laid nine tackles with his 22 possessions.
And backman Alex Rance had an engrossing duel with Charlie Dixon — the Power forward kicked 1.1 but threatened, while the Tiger star had 17 disposals and moments of brilliance.