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VFL: Stunning Zebras stun Port Melbourne to advance

Sandringham has wound back the clock to produce one of their best performances of 2016, advancing to the semi-finals following a comprehensive 45-point win over Port Melbourne.

It was like the Zebras of old, tearing the heralded and tough Borough outfit to shreds in a last quarter to be remembered.

The stunning nine goal final term stunned Port, who could only manage four majors of their own for the term as makeshift forward Tom Lee (5 goals, eight marks, 12 disposals) and Cam Shenton (4 goals, six marks, 20 disposals) dominated the attack.

With ten individual goal kickers, the Zebras survived an elimination final many thought they wouldn’t after dropping six of their final seven games heading into September.

Sandringham Coach Paul Hudson instructed his players from the boundary line all afternoon, the extra interaction with his players producing dividends as the Zebras got off to a great start.

It was a fierce opening term at every contest and despite an early Borough lead, the Zebras kicked away with the last four goals of the quarter to take a 22-point lead at the first break.

A second quarter goal-fest saw eleven goals kicked between the two sides, the Zebras outscoring the battle hardened Port by one goal to take an ominous 30-point break at half-time.

Gary Ayres’ side were always going to come back hard and challenge the Zebras at some point, a force that came in the third term with Port putting on a five goal haul to the Zebras’ three majors for the third term.

So strong was the challenge from the home side that they got within 11-points of the Zebras at the 25 minute mark, but a second goal from Sandringham skipper Trent Dennis-Lane gave the visitors a handy 18-point buffer at the last change.

With a slim margin and no next week for the loser, the Zebras responded to Hudson’s message to take hold of the last quarter and produced what the coach would describe post-game as “the best football he’s seen all year” to run out convincing winners.

Sandringham will return to North Port Oval next Saturday for a semi-final clash against Williamstown, scheduled for 11:40am. 

SCOREBOARD

PORT MELBOURNE 1.1 6.2 11.5 15.10 (100)
SANDRINGHAM 4.5 10.8 13.11 22.13 (145)

GOALS: Lee 5, Shenton 4, Dennis-Lane 3, Templeton 2, Answerth, Cook, Grace, Fisscher, Sinclair, Pierce.

BEST: Lee, Shenton, Le Grice, Curren, Sinclair, Longer.

At North Port Oval.