League leader Port Adelaide has put its foot down to highlight the great strides it has made this season in a convincing 50-point victory over Essendon on Saturday evening.
The Bombers started brightly to lead by five points at the first break, but were ultimately outgunned in the 4.5 (29) to 11.13 (79) defeat, conceding 15 more scoring shots and 13 more inside 50s amid a downpour of rain at Adelaide Oval.
If Port Adelaide could afford to switch its focus to finals midway through a cruisy victory, Essendon was conversely powerless to avoid being overrun in a defeat that puts to bed any mathematical hopes of the club keeping its season alive.
Tom Rockliff (30 disposals, one goal) relished the wet conditions, with his influence particularly telling throughout a second quarter when the Power kicked five unanswered majors to assert their authority on the contest.
The inclement weather set in soon after that, stopping the game from reaching any great heights as a spectacle, but not preventing Ollie Wines (28 disposals, one goal) and Travis Boak (26 disposals, one goal) from continuing their fine run of form.
But where Port Adelaide had a number of quality contributors, Essendon's were few and far between. Promising young defender Jordan Ridley (23 disposals, four marks) was serviceable, but ultimately outgunned.
With just one win from their last nine matches, another loss puts the Bombers out of finals contention. It's a far cry from the scenes inside the Power camp, where a fifth straight win next week – against Collingwood in the final game of the home and away season – will confirm top spot heading into the finals.
PORT ADELAIDE 1.2 6.7 7.13 11.13 (79)
ESSENDON 2.1 2.3 3.3 4.5 (29)
Port Adelaide: Dixon 2, Ladhams, Powell-Pepper, Ebert, Gray, Rockliff, Wines, Boak, Duursma, Motlop
Essendon: Parish, Clarke, Cutler, Ham
Port Adelaide: Rockliff, Boak, Wines, Rozee, Amon, Gray, Bonner
Essendon: Ridley, Saad, Merrett, Smith, Parish
Port Adelaide: Nil