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Port Adelaide have kept their top-two hopes alive after overcoming a clearance masterclass from Fremantle’s Caleb Serong to post a 16-point win at Optus Stadium.
Serong tallied 12 clearances among his 27 possessions, but Port Adelaide’s weight of numbers proved too much to overcome in the Power’s win on Sunday.
Zak Butters played a starring role for the Power.Credit: Getty Images
The result kept the Power (16-6) in third spot, with Brisbane (16-6) 11.7 percentage points ahead of them in second place.
For Port to nab second spot, they need Brisbane to lose to St Kilda at the Gabba next Saturday, and then take care of business at home to Richmond next Sunday.
Port star Zak Butters finished with 32 disposals, three clearances and a goal to lead his team to victory, while Connor Rozee, Ollie Wines and Jason Horne-Francis were also influential.
Darcy Byrne-Jones booted two goals in the final quarter to kill off Fremantle’s fightback.
The pressure was red-hot in an opening term that ended two goals apiece despite Fremantle winning the inside 50 count 15-7.
Caleb Serong breaks a tackle on Sunday.Credit: AFL Photos
Butters provided the highlight of the quarter with a remarkable goal over his shoulder while in traffic.
Fremantle utility Bailey Banfield produced his own moment of magic in the second quarter with a mesmerising bicycle kick near the goal line.
But unlike the controversial finish to the Adelaide-Sydney game the previous night, Banfield’s goal was reviewed, with replays showing it had been touched on the way through.
Port captain Tom Jonas was forced off in the second term with blood streaming from his forehead after a nasty clash of heads with a teammate.
Jonas returned to the field in the third quarter before going back to the rooms for further assessment.
It was immediately unclear when and if Jonas had a concussion test, but he was able to return again in the final term to help Port hold on for the win.
It came less than three weeks after Port were fined $100,000 for breaching the AFL’s rules following the club’s failure to send defender Aliir Aliir in for a concussion test.
Fremantle lost Jaeger O’Meara to a calf injury during the match, while Bailey Banfield injured an AC joint.
PORT ADELAIDE 2.3 6.4 9.6 11.8 (74)
FREMANTLE 2.4 4.7 5.8 8.10 (58)
Port Adelaide: Powell-Pepper 2, Finlayson 2, Byrne-Jones 2, McEntee, Rioli, Butters, Horne-Francis, Lord
Fremantle: Switkowski 2, Frederick 2, Emmett 2, Cox, Jackson
Port Adelaide: Butters, Wines, Rioli, Finlayson
Fremantle: Jackson, Ryan, Young, Brayshaw
UMPIRES Dalgleish, Dore, Heffernan, Bailes
VENUE Optus Stadium
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