'Outrageous' skipper powers Port to big win over Dons

Port Adelaide captain Connor Rozee and fellow midfield gun Jason Horne-Francis have produced dominant performances to lead their side to a 69-point thrashing of Essendon.

The star pair racked up career-high disposal tallies and were the stand-outs in a long list of contributors for the Power in their 17.9 (111) to 6.6 (42) victory at Adelaide Oval on Friday night.

First-year skipper Rozee dazzled in front of 47,641 fans in Gather Round with 36 touches, five clearances and three goals.

His three majors came during a scintillating 20-disposal first half.

"I've seen him play some pretty good games already, but not that good," Port coach Ken Hinkley said.

"Not the first half particularly - it was outrageous what he was doing. A great young captain."

Horne-Francis had a huge influence on return from a hamstring injury, racking up 31 possessions and 10 clearances.

The tally included seven centre-bounce clearances, where Port enjoyed a landslide 19-6 advantage.

Zak Butters (26 disposals, five clearances), Willem Drew (18, six) and milestone man Dan Houston, who had 22 touches in his 150th game, also shone.

Willie Rioli, Jeremy Finlayson and Darcy Byrne-Jones kicked three goals each, and Mitch Georgiades added 2.2 on his return from a year out with a knee injury.

The only Power concern was a back injury to Travis Boak that forced the veteran out of the game at halftime.

Essendon captain Zach Merrett worked tirelessly for 36 disposals and seven clearances while former Port player Xavier Duursma had 26 touches and Jade Gresham kicked three goals.

The Bombers were in the game at quarter-time, when only Port's efficiency in attack meant the home side led 4.0 to 3.3.

But the visitors fell away dramatically, belted 52-27 for inside-50s after the first break as the Power went one-on-one in defence and stifled Essendon's ball movement.

The Bombers managed only 21 points after quarter-time and lost Archie Perkins to a hamstring injury, while coughing up a second triple-figure score from four games this season.

Essendon coach Brad Scott conceded Port's centre bounce dominance was a "good wake-up call" for his midfield.

"That was clearly the biggest issue for us throughout the game," Scott said.

"The end result looks like probably a lack of effort but in terms of the things that we tried to get on our terms, we lost momentum in some of the key areas of the game.

"That was more of a concern for us."

It was Essendon's eighth consecutive defeat to Port Adelaide in a barren run that dates back to 2018.

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