Luke Beveridge's broadside coughed up the last 3 goals of the lucifer to the Power, who led for little than 10 full minutes passim the match, but stole the 9. 12. (66) to 10. 4. (64) win astatine Marvel Stadium.
Port Adelaide built its triumph disconnected the backmost of a 35-28 triumph successful clearances and a whopping 51-18 triumph successful hitouts, with ruckman Scott Lycett having his mode with Lewis Young, who played successful the ruck with Tim English deployed up guardant successful Josh Bruce's absence.
Following his side's 3rd consecutive loss, which has seen the squad descent from archetypal to perchance 5th astatine the extremity of Round 23, Beveridge erstwhile again lamented the deficiency of a beardown ruck option, seemingly taking a changeable astatine English.
"The result of the ruck conflict is modular for us," helium told reporters successful his post-match property conference. "That's what happens each week."
"We threw Lewy Young a challenge, I thought helium stood up arsenic good arsenic Tim has for astir of the twelvemonth successful that role.
"There's nary doubt, we spell to the good each week. We don't person a ascendant ruckman."
With the ruck presumption a occupation past season, the Bulldogs recruited seasoned Stefan Martin to the nine to assistance English, but the 34-year-old has managed conscionable 7 matches this season, and has not played since Round 12.
Just a week retired from what could perchance beryllium a sudden-death final, Beveridge said Martin was nary warrant to play adjacent week, contempt being scheduled to play successful a scratch lucifer this weekend.
"Stef Martin has been out, he's played 1 crippled successful 3 and a fractional months, and he's lone had the 1 afloat grooming session," helium said.
"You can't prime a subordinate connected the backmost of that preparation, truthful we've conscionable got to marque bash and that's not easy.
"He's not a subordinate that we tin bent our chapeau on. He hasn't had the grooming load that's required to play the crippled astatine this level for agelong enough, particularly a final."
Injuries to cardinal presumption players person thrown erstwhile again caused Beveridge to propulsion players into unfamiliar positions, and Geelong large Cameron Mooney said the instability was a large interest heading into the finals.
"They don't cognize what their champion squad looks like, they've got nary idea," helium told Fox Footy's First Crack.
"There's a batch of players, you look astatine them close now, and you're going, 'Where are they?'. They don't cognize what their champion squad is, and the ruck relation didn't enactment tonight.
"Going into adjacent week, a large final, successful the mediate of the crushed wherever they've been truthful ascendant each year, they're successful a spot of all-sorts astatine the moment."
Beveridge's subtle changeable astatine English didn't spell unnoticed by St Kilda large Leigh Montagna.
"It was a clip [to Tim English]. I deliberation you tin consciousness the frustration," helium said.
"He did the nonstop aforesaid happening past twelvemonth astir Tim English, truthful evidently there's immoderate frustrations that Tim English conscionable doesn't get it done successful the ruck, truthful they went with him arsenic the axenic forward."
It was a sensational effect for the Power, who could seal a top-two decorativeness and a location last adjacent week if different results spell their mode successful the last round.
Brownlow fancy Ollie Wines was sensational erstwhile again with 34 disposals and a important fourth-quarter goal, portion the ageless Travis Boak added 31 disposals and 2 goals.
The triumph leaves the Bulldogs precariously placed, with the Brisbane Lions a accidental to bargain 4th spot connected the ladder if they triumph by a ample capable borderline against the West Coast Eagles connected Saturday afternoon.