Against an extended Port Melbourne squad, the Blues were over-run at Ikon Park. (PHOTO CREDIT: Cristian Filippo)
THE Northern Blues narrowly went down to Port Melbourne in scorching conditions on Thursday.
With four less numbers on the bench, Northern enjoyed a strong start but were over-run to ultimately go down in a 14.4 (88) to 11.8 (74) result.
The Blues undoubtedly had the better of the contest in the early going, piling on five goals in the opening term to open up a 21-point lead.
It was Levi Casboult who opened the account for the Blues, using his size and power to mark and then snap truly to begin proceedings.
With eight Carlton-listed players featuring, midfielder Matthew Kennedy and ruckman Tom De Koning combined well with VFL-listed Sam Fisher to give the Blues first-use out of the middle.
That 21-point buffer was as good as it got for the Blues, as their opponents gradually pegged them back over the remaining three quarters.
It was an even middle portion of the game, with Port willing themselves back into the contest with a strong running game while Blues’ youngsters Lochie O’Brien and Liam Stocker battled admirably against senior bodies.
After taking an eight-point lead into the final change, Northern had a handy break when Finbar O’Dwyer goaled to extend the Blues’ buffer to 14 points.
However, it was then where the numbers game became evident, as the mercury hit 36 degrees at Ikon Park.
The Borough would kick six of the last seven goals to ultimately prevail by 14 points.
In his first hitout for 2019, Sam Fisher picked up from where he left off last season. The midfielder was the pick of the bunch for the Blues, collecting over 20 disposals, nine clearances and a goal in limited game-time.
Tom De Koning also showed plenty of positive signs in the ruck and around the ground. He recorded 25 hitouts and linked well with Matthew Kennedy, who recorded 18 disposals (11 contested).
Northern’s next match will come on Sunday week, when it heads to Olympic Park Oval to take on Collingwood.
NORTHERN BLUES 5.3 6.5 9.5 11.8 (74)
PORT MELBOURNE 2.0 5.1 8.3 14.4 (88)
Northern Blues: Brown 2, Casboult 2, Velissaris 2, Wheeler 2, De Koning, Fisher, O’Dwyer