A final quarter onslaught from Port Melbourne has seen Sandringham record a 51-point loss in a fiery encounter at Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval.
The visitors made the Zebras' ill-discipline pay, slotting seven final-term majors to run out comfortable victors, with the 10.12 (72) to 19.9 (123) result putting a dent in Sandringham’s hunt for a spot in the top-eight.
Despite being a tight and see-sawing affair heading into the final break, the Borough proved too classy for Sandringham in a frustrating final term for Jake Batchelor’s side.
Port Melbourne forwards Jake Gasper (six goals) and Matt Signorello (three goals) proved a handful for the Zebras’ defence, with the former kicking four majors in a dominant last quarter.
Tom Highmore (28 disposals, nine marks, five tackles) put in a best-on-ground display for the Zebras’, regularly cutting off Port Melbourne’s attack with a dominant aerial performance for the intercept defender.
Fellow defender and son of Stephen, Tyson Milne put in a fantastic performance, particularly in the first half, to finish with one goal, 25 disposals and nine marks in a positive display for his development, while Darragh Joyce (21 touches, six marks) also stood tall in defence.
VFL MATCH CENTRE: View all news, stats and videos from Round 18
In their second game back from long-term injury layoffs, Dan Hannebery (26 disposals, eight clearances) and Jack Bytel (20 disposals, five tackles) were once again amongst the side’s best with classy midfield performances.
In the absence of Tom Campbell (AFL) and Max Heath (concussion), key forward Chris Carey shouldered the ruck duties for the afternoon and was outstanding for the Zebras to finish with 14 disposals, 34 hit outs, five marks, and five tackles in a well-rounded performance.
After six weeks away from action, Mitch Owens (24 disposals, seven clearances, five tackles, two goals) made a terrific comeback for Sandringham, playing primarily on-ball and showing his ability to win the football. The 18-year-old also chipped in with two majors of his own in a great performance.
Zak Jones (22 disposals, six clearances, six tackles) responded with a physical, workmanlike showing in the midfield, with the 27-year-old regularly going hard into contests to get his hands on the footbal, while Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera (14 disposals, six marks) was composed on the wing for the Zebras. Fellow speedster Jack Peris (11 disposals, three tackles) was reliable yet again for Sandringham as was relentless through his chasedown pressure.
Ollie Lowe (two goals, 10 touches, six marks) backed up his strong performance last week with another exciting outing in the attacking 50, with Dean Kent (11 disposals, four tackles) also bobbing up with two majors of his own in a solid showing.Youngsters Oscar Adams (five disposals) and Matthew Allison (four disposals) were quiet in what proved to be a difficult afternoon.
The loss leaves the Zebras still outside of the eight, missing the chance to jump to ninth on the ladder with three games remaining.
Sandringham will enter its final bye of the season next week, before making their way down the highway to face Geelong at GMHBA Stadium the following week in a must-win clash.
SANDRINGHAM 3.4 5.6 9.8 10.12 (72)
PORT MELBOURNE 2.3 8.4 12.7 19.9 (123)
Sandringham Lowe, Owens, Kent 2, Hipwell, Milne, Nowell, Watson
Port Melbourne Gasper 6, Signorello 3, Lentini, Manton 2, Anastasio, Cucinotta, T. O’Sullivan, J. O’Sullivan, Szust, Walker
Sandringham Highmore, Carey, Milne, Hannebery, Owens, Bytel, Jones
Port Melbourne Templeton, Holmes, Hooper, Gasper, T. O’Sullivan, Lentini, Signorello