Port Adelaide players should consider poking Travis Boak in the eye more often.
Power coach Ken Hinkley was full of praise for Boak after the `one-eyed’ captain dug his team out of a hole in Saturday’s 61-point win over Melbourne in Alice Springs.
Boak was left with double vision after copping an accidental finger to his left eye from teammate Andrew Moore at training on Wednesday.
Even during the pre-game warm-up Boak’s availability was still up in the air as he tested out his vision through his swollen eye.
But the 164-game veteran shook off the complaint to take his spot on the field – and it’s just as well.
The Power were in danger of slumping to their fourth straight loss after falling 24 points behind midway through the second quarter in warm conditions at Traeger Park.
But from that point on Boak took control, with the 26-year-old inspiring his midfield brigade to launch a stunning fightback that left the young Demons stunned.
Port booted 13 of the next 14 goals to run away 18.7 (115) to 8.6 (54) winners, with Boak (31 disposals) playing a crucial role in the win.
“I thought our captain today was outstanding. I was really proud of Travis,” Hinkley said.
“He went to Nathan Jones, who had 11 disposals in the first quarter.
“I just said, ‘Captain against captain, let’s see whether you can push your team over the line’.
“I thought his game was significant and symbolic about what we’re prepared to do to get our season back on track.”
Jones finished with just 20 disposals for the match as Port ran rampant.
Brad Ebert and Ollie Wines joined Boak in the midfield demolition, with Jay Schulz (four goals) and Robbie Gray (26 disposals, one goal) dangerous up forward.
The result improved Port’s record to 4-5 but Hinkley knows his charges have plenty of work to do if they are to win back their title of premiership contenders.
Melbourne showed plenty of fight and class in last week’s win over the Bulldogs but they managed just two goals after half-time against Port.
Young guns Jesse Hogan (two goals, eight marks) and Angus Brayshaw toiled hard, while Colin Garland was solid in defence.
Demons coach Paul Roos was left frustrated by his side’s dramatic drop off.
“When we think about individual rather than team, we capitulate pretty badly,” Roos said.
“So that’s something we all need to address.
“Certainly against the better teams it means the scores are pretty lopsided.
“When we drop off, we drop off pretty dramatically.
“Clearly our best footy has gone a fair way up from last year.
“But our worst footy is probably similar to where we were last year, so that’s concerning for us as a footy club.”