PORT Melbourne’s premiership defence remains alive after it overcame the loss of its best player to suspension to bundle the Box Hill Hawks out of the rebel VFLW finals, with an 18-point win in the rain at Box Hill City Oval on Saturday.

The Borough became the third sixth-placed team in a row to advance past the opening week of the rebel VFLW by eliminating the third seed, and they did it in style, leading almost from post to post to win running away.

Led by two first-half goals to former Hawk Jessie Williams, Port grabbed an early lead and then responded when headed in the second term.

Box Hill fought back again in the third term, getting within a point but being unable to reclaim the lead due to desperate Borough defence.

Third-gamer Rachael Slater’s 45m set shot late in the third term gave the visitors the impetus to go on with the job, even though they had lost tackling machine Courteney Bromage to a leg injury shortly before.

Another ex-Hawk in Lambert-Pearce medallist Jordan Mifsud booted the first goal of the last as her new club nailed the first three of the term to ensure their progression to a first semi final showdown with the Western Bulldogs at Mission Whitten Oval this Saturday.

Lauren Caruso is building a reputation as a finals specialist and backed up her Hardeman Medal-winning performance in last year’s Grand Final with a 23 disposals, eight clearances, nine inside-50s and a goal.

Meanwhile, Mifsud (18 disposals, five clearances, seven tackles), Georgia Booth (15 disposals, 11 tackles, one goal) and Eloise Ashley-Cooper (16 disposals, seven clearances, seven tackles) called on all their experience.

Star ruck Tamara Luke couldn’t have done any more to keep Box Hill’s season alive, and her team looked infinitely more dangerous when she was around the ball on her way to 13 touches, 29 hitouts and a goal in what turned out to be her final VFLW match.

Danika Spamer stuck 15 tackles in a tireless effort, Rosie Dillon stood up with 18 touches, 10 clearances and six tackles and Ellie McLinden (14 disposals, five tackles, six rebounds) fired in defence.

BOX HILL HAWKS     1.0        2.1        3.4        4.7 (31)
PORT MELBOURNE    1.4        3.5        4.7        7.7 (49)