Port Adelaide has reinforced its position at the top of the AFL ladder against the Western Bulldogs, but could be without one of the key members of its back six after a high hit.
The Power kicked away after a tight first half at Adelaide Oval, eventually outlasting the gutsy Bulldogs 8. 7. (55) to 5. 12. (42) in front of a raucous crowd.
However, despite the win, the ladder-leaders will be sweating on whether defender Sam Mayes is suspended for a late and high hit on returning Bulldogs star Josh Dunkley.
The incident occurred in the first quarter when Mayes lined up Dunkley on the wing well after he had released a handball, collecting him on the chin with a shoulder.
Luckily for Mayes and Port Adelaide, Dunkley was able to gather himself and run out the remainder of the game, but the intentional nature of the bump could still see Mayes cop a suspension.
The incident didn’t sit too well with several former players, with Saints great Nick Riewoldt branding it a “cheap shot” that put Dunkley in “serious danger” of an injury.
Along with Riewoldt, both David King and Jason Dunstall said the 26-year-old deserved to be suspended, even though Dunkley was able to play the remainder of the contest.
“Late and high – trouble. I think it’s going to land him in a little bit of hot water,” Dunstall said on Fox Footy’s coverage.
“He’s clearly gotten rid of the ball, he’s taken another step or so and (Mayes) comes through with the bump.
“It’s a vigorous bump and the point of the shoulder makes contact with the chin. If he’s lucky fine but also might get a week.”
“If you choose to bump you’ve got to miss the head,” King added.
“The current sanction is not working as a deterrent. That’ll be a fine and he’ll be right to play next week and that action won’t be stamped out of our game.
“Concussion is a serious issue in our game. We’ve got to start penalising the action and not the outcome.”
After a low-scoring affair in the first half, the contest burst to life in the third quarter, courtesy of Port Adelaide big man Charlie Dixon kicking two goals in a run of five consecutive Power majors.
Port Adelaide’s third quarter proved to be decisive, with the four-goal quarter turning a three-point half-time deficit into a 23-point lead at the final change.
While the Bulldogs fought hard in the final quarter, they were made to pay for their inaccuracy in front of goal, kicking just 2.6 in the final quarter.
The loss leaves Luke Beveridge’s men in eighth place with 20 points and a percentage of 92.2, meaning it is likely to finish Round 10 outside the top eight.
The Bulldogs face arguably the most intimidating road trip in the game next week, with a trip to the Gabba to take on Brisbane, while Port Adelaide has the equally tough task of hosting a resurgent Richmond side.