It was a tale of two halves for the Dolphin’s as Frankston were dealt a 73-point loss at the hands of the competitions in-form side, Port Melbourne.
The Dolphin’s were brilliant in the first half but were overrun by the Borough’s in a clinical third and fourth term, going down 5.13 (43) to 17.14 (116).
Will Fordham set the tone of his performance at the opening bounce, bursting from the stoppage and finding Shem Tatupu inside 50.
Frankston had the run of the play in the opening stages of the match but were unable to capitalise when entering their forward 50, ultimately assisting Port Melbourne in playing their trademark defence into attack brand of football.
After Port Melbourne landed the first two majors of the match, Corey Rich continued his fast start by cleaning up the ball use going forward, finding Nathan Fahey who went back to kick Frankston’s first.
Trailing at the first break by 20-points, the Dolphin’s were on the back foot and needed to respond.
In which they did, Frankston were tremendous in the second term, demonstrating they can not only compete with the best, but beat them as well.
Corey Rich got on the end of a pass from Liam Hiscock and kick-started the Dolphin’s comeback from the arc of 50. Which it was shortly followed by another goal by Nathan Freeman after chopping off the oppositions counterattack.
Only moments later Will Fordham asserted himself on the match once again by handing his side the lead.
Superb individual efforts by Fordham, McCarthy, Newman, Freeman and Rich in the second term along with a plethora of forward entries suddenly placed Port Melbourne on the back foot.
Frankston were controlling the match on their terms but were just unable to expose Port Melbourne through conversion, kicking nine behinds in the quarter and two out of bounds on the full.
A late turnover in the middle of the ground handed the Borough back the lead but trailing by only a single straight kick at te main break the Dolphin’s were in it.
Mitch McCarthy was climbing over his opponent at any opportunity to give his midfielders first use, at half-time the 21-year-old had more hitouts than the opposition alone.
Coach Danny Ryan’s message at half-time was to be fierce and relentless, assuring his players it wasn’t going to be easy but they were capable of it.
Unfortunately, the Dolphin’s rued the missed opportunities in the second term as Port Melbourne flexed their muscles in the second half and ran away through accurate goal kicking.
Frankston had the first look of the second half inside the opening minute but were again unable to capitalise and from then on were given limited opportunities to respond.
After conceding the first two majors of the half, the Dolphin’s were deflated by a delayed free kick at the top of the goal square that allowed Port Melbourne to kick two goals in as many kicks and increase their buffer.
Beau Bailey won the ball at half-forward and was rewarded with a 50 metre penalty that brought him within range to snatch Frankston’s first of the term in the dying stages.
At the final break the Dolphin’s were trailing by 49-points and were urged to be harder to play against through tackle pressure and hunger for the contest.
Whilst Port Melbourne won the final term, Frankston competed to the final siren and revealed late that they are capable of using the ball with efficiency but by then the damage had already been done.
Coach Danny Ryan believes there is a lot of positives to come from the performance but isn’t hiding the negatives that emerged from the loss.
“I think the positives of today is definitely the first half, but more importantly the second quarter, we really outworked and we won the contested possession and tackle against a really strong and mature football team.
“They (Port Melbourne) are a really mature, hard and in good form team and to match it with them, that is what we are capable of we have known that all along but to see it in action today was really pleasing, that’s the upside.
“The flipside to that is that collapsed like a house of cards in the second half and we didn’t deliver on that foundation of our game and we can’t put our attack into play,” Ryan said.
In the second half the margin blew out to a buffer that didn’t reflect the contest, Ryan said it doesn’t hinder the confidence and growth of this group.
“We take our chances in the first half and finish our work we may be three or four goals up at half-time, now we have a little bit of a buffer for them to chase you and we didn’t put the foot on the throat to make them chase us.
“That is the area we need to go, there is no point looking at the win, loss, percentage, it’s irrelevant.
“What you have to look at is the growth and development of each individual, each line and the team as a collective, if we keep growing, later on down the track the scoreboard will take care of itself.
“That doesn’t give any solace in the short term but that’s the long term play, so we are trying to fast track leadership and it isn’t something you can snap your finger and make happen.
“You have to chip away and chip away and people will realise ‘What a powerful and strong football team’ but that won’t happen straight away,” Ryan said.
The match against Port Melbourne was the first of the two local double headers with the MPNFL playing as a curtain raiser. In the earlier match Frankston Bombers beat Mt Eliza by 34-points with Dolphin Alex Harnett winning best on ground for the Bombers.
Next week Frankston will take on North Melbourne at Skybus Stadium at 2pm with 2018 local grand finalists Sorrento and Pines clashing in the morning as the second curtain raiser which begins at 11:15am.
FRANKSTON 5.13.43 DEF BY PORT MELBOURNE 17.14.116
Freeman, Fahey, Bailey, Rich, Fordham.
Newman 32, Freeman 31, Fordham 29, Ferreira 18, Rich 17.
McCarthy, Fordham, Miller, Rich, Newman, Freeman.
Dolphins Digital Media Team