Jamie Kloeden reporting for AFANA from Adelaide, South Australia
Round Five saw cross-town rivals Port Adelaide and Adelaide meet for the 32nd time. Although Port led the overall scorecard 17-14 it was the in form Crows who went into the game as the favorites. Over the years the “Showdowns” - as these match ups are known - have often been fierce contests with high intensity starts and, not to disappoint, this game featured a phenomenal opening.
Players on both sides were throwing their bodies in, trying to win possession of the ball at all costs, resulting in an almost scrappy first few minutes before Port’s Ben Jacobs intercepted a Nathan van Berlo clearing kick, took the mark and converted for the game’s first goal. David Rodan was dominating early around the contests and was able to feed the ball to perennial Showdown star Justin Westhoff who kicked the first of his four goals for the night. While Rodan was on top for the Power, it was through no fault of Crows' ruckman Sam Jacobs who was winning the ruck contests and even moved forward briefly to register the first major score for Adelaide. He set up Jarrod Petrenko soon after for their second. Taylor Walker and John Butcher each registered their first goals for their respective teams and, after a very entertaining quarter of football, the Crows went to the first break with a one point lead.
Second quarter action started in amazing fashion with Taylor Walker kicking his second, third and fourth goals all within the first 90 seconds. It was at this time that you expected Port to lay down and let the Crows run away with the game. However with Rodan still having a big influence and Hamish Hartlett solid in repelling the Crows attacks across half back, the Power players managed to keep themselves within striking distance. The remainder of the quarter was an even contest but there was one man starting to really take the game on. Patrick Dangerfield stepped up and put together possibly the best game of his career. While accumulating possessions almost at will and playing as a wrecking ball in the packs, Dangerfield started the second half as he finished the first but he couldn’t do it all himself. Port dominated the early going, trimming the Crows' lead from 19 points at half time back to just three points within the first few minutes of the quarter. Brad Ebert, playing in his first Showdown since moving over from the West Coast, came alive and played a big part in setting up many of the seven goals that the Power piled on for the quarter. Westhoff and Butcher were providing great targets up forward and then converting the chances that they were presented with. Suddenly it was three quarter time and Port were heading for the home stretch holding a nine point lead.
Alongside the enormous pressure being applied by both teams came many errors early in the final quarter. Neither side was able to kick a goal until the nine minute mark when Ian Callinan took a mark, played on and kicked truly to get Adelaide moving in the right direction again. This goal opened the flood gates for the Crows and from here on they took charge of the contest and never looked like losing. Johncock wandered down the field from his usual confines in the backline to kick a long goal and Walker finished off his day with two more goals to give himself a career best tally of six. Butcher made one last ditch effort for Port to give them a glimmer of hope with a few minutes to go but by that stage it was never going to end in anything other than a Crows' victory, putting them into the Top Four on the Ladder with a 19 point win.
Patrick Dangerfield was awarded the Showdown Medal as best afield and he will be hoping to continue his hot form as the Crows fly north next week to take on the Ladder leading Sydney Swans at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Port will look to take the points next week against a Richmond side that almost caused one of the upsets of the season against the Eagles and will be confident that they are ready to get another win on the board.
Scoreboard Adelaide: 4.3 10.4 12.7 16.14 (110) Port Adelaide: 4.2 7.3 14.4 14.7 (91) Best Players Adelaide: Dangerfield, Jacobs, Walker, Sloane, Thompson, Johncock Port Adelaide: Rodan, Westhoff, Ebert, Chaplin, Boak, Hartlett
Article last changed on Thursday, May 03, 2012 - 5:07 AM EDT