Jamie Kloeden reporting for AFANA from AAMI Stadium, Adelaide
With Port Adelaide off to a winning start this season and Adelaide Crows' fans expecting a return to form, this Showdown promised to be one of the hardest fought of recent times.
Unlike last round when the Power were sluggish starters against GWS, they jumped out of the blocks in this clash kicking the first two goals of the game. It took until the four minute mark but when Matthew Broadbent curled one through and Jay Schulz goaled after some great work by Justin Westhoff, it looked like it was going to be another great night for new coach Ken Hinkley and his charges. Taylor "Tex" Walker hit back with the Crows' first major score and things started to settle down a bit after a ferocious start.
An even finish to the quarter saw Port head to the break with a four point buffer but the start of the second had the Crows start to take charge on the scoreboard. The opening two goals of the term went to Adelaide who jumped out to an eight point lead but the scoreboard wasn't a true reflection of the game for the next period of time. While Adelaide started to build a lead, it was the Power winning possession and pushing the ball forward regularly, but kicking with any accuracy was proving to be a problem. Six of the next seven scoring shots were at the Port end of the ground but every one of them was just the solitary point. Meanwhile the Crows managed to make the most of their chances and add five goals for the quarter to go into half time 15 points ahead.
Adelaide continued to defy the run of play and kicked the first goal of the second quarter through Brent Reilly. A second followed soon after when an errant Jarrod Petrenko handball was hacked through on the goal line for a major score by Walker . Big Tex goaled again, this time from long range, and suddenly Adelaide had a match high 31 point lead with Port were on their way to their first loss of 2013.
It was at this time however that the Power veterans put their hands up to be counted and produced a remarkable turnaround. Justin Westhoff was following up his best on ground effort last week against the Giants with another fine performance and was on the end of an excellent Ollie Wines pass. He converted the goal beautifully to spark the Port revival. It was then the captain's turn to step up as Travis Boak won the ball and again it was Westhoff on the end of a superb pass within scoring distance. While it was a tough shot, he made it look easy and it was once again game on.
Crows skipper Nathan van Berlo was subbed out of the game at this point with what appeared to be a knee injury and was replaced by the fresh legs of Bernie Vince but it was Petrenko who proved to be the livewire up forward again. He worked hard to earn a free kick and kicked the goal to steady the ship and restore a 27 point lead for Adelaide. What followed had the home Port Adelaide crowd at full voice which has not been heard for a couple of seasons. The next four goals were all scored by the Power through Boak, Westhoff again, young excitement machine Jake Neade and a true captain's goal by Boak once again right on the stroke of three quarter time. A tied ball game at the final break had the crowd buzzing with a fourth quarter that promised a ferocious brand of football with both teams desperate for a Showdown win.
What actually transpired was a cakewalk with Port dominating on their way to an unlikely win. Chad Wingard kicked a tremendous goal from deep in the forward pocket to get the charge underway and when he slotted another minutes later the lead was out to 13 points. Westhoff again stepped up and kicked his fourth to push it out to a 19 point margin and from there on it was always going to be a victory to the Power. Wingard kicked his third and Wines got his first for the day from within the goal square to put a win out of reach for the Crows. Although they managed three final quarter goals it was too little too late and it was the Port Adelaide faithful singing the song at the final siren to celebrate a terrific nine point win.
It is now off to Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast next Saturday night for Port Adelaide which now has a very real chance at starting the season with four wins in a row. Brenton Sanderson will look to make some changes to the Adelaide side, including a possible replacement for his injured captain for the clash with the Western Bulldogs AAMI Stadium in Round Four.
Scoreboard Port Adelaide 5.2 6.9 12.13 17.16 (118) Adelaide 4.4 9.6 13.7 16.13 (109) Best Players Port Adelaide: Boak, Westhoff, Cornes, Wines, Wingard, Hartlett Adelaide: Sloane, Thompson, Douglas, Walker, Henderson, Dangerfield
Article last changed on Saturday, April 20, 2013 - 9:13 PM EDT