Port Adelaide kept a firm grip on top spot on the AFL ladder with a rampant 75-point win over crosstown rivals the Adelaide Crows on Saturday night at Adelaide Oval.
With the season’s first batch of fans – 2240 in total – present at the ground, the Power completely outclassed a struggling Crows outfit that lost defender Jake Kelly early to concussion, then Captain Rory Sloane with a thigh injury that kept the Adelaide favorite sidelined for all of the second half.
The winning margin was the highest by Port against their local rivals while also restricting the Crows to their lowest total score in all previous “showdowns”.
Early in the first quarter there was no indication of the drubbing that eventually took place as Adelaide produced eight of the first nine entries inside the 50 meter arc, resulting in goals to Rory Sloane and young forward Darcy Fogarty. That was where the joy ended for the underdog Crows as Port completely dominated proceedings from then on, finishing on the positive side of the ledger for a total of 57 entries inside 50 compared to just 30 for the shell-shocked Crows.
Port was continually first to the contested ball, and it was the young guns that once again shone for the Power just as they had done in 2019. Connor Rozee (17 disposals, 8 clearances, 6 tackles) continues to play at a level that belies his experience, Xavier Duursma (17 disposals, 3 goals) is on fire and Zak Butters (21 disposals, 7 marks and 8 tackles) completed the domination of the second year Power draftees.
After quarter time when Adelaide trailed by just 13 points, it was one-way traffic with the Power brushing aside the Crows with ease. Half time saw Port’s advantage balloon to 32 points as the Crows showed frustration in giving away two late 50 meter penalties that resulted in Port goals.
When the Port Adelaide veterans decided to join the party, there was no stopping the boys wearing the old-school “prison bar” jumpers made famous by the original Port Adelaide that dominated the South Australian Football League back in the day. Justin Westhoff and Charlie Dixon chipped in with three goals each while Steven Motlop added two more plus the mark of the day with a screamer that had the 1,400 odd and spaced out Port supporters in raptures.
The second half was a procession with Port doing as it pleased. Adelaide Coach Matthew Nicks looked bewildered in the coaching box as his younger players were out-muscled and his veterans outclassed. Young ruckman Riley O’Brien was best for Adelaide as he competed well for four quarters, but there wasn’t much else to like from a Crows point of view. The most damning statistic to come out of the game for Adelaide was that despite being thrashed in possession count 259 to Port’s 363, Port won the tackle count 61-45.
The Adelaide hierarchy made the choice to commence a rebuild and to their credit, they "blooded" some youngsters such as Ned McHenry, Fisher McAsey, and Chase Jones, but by leaving experienced players such as Bryce Gibbs out of the side they have put immense pressure on the more senior players, who so far have struggled to perform.
Both teams head up to the Gold Coast “hub” for round three where the Power will start heavy favorites against Fremantle, while Adelaide contends with the Gold Coast Suns, fresh off arguably their greatest win as the young Suns took down the West Coast Eagles on Saturday night.
Scoreboard: Port Adelaide 4.2 8.4 14.7 17.8 (110) Adelaide 2.1 3.2 4.3 5.5 (35) Best Players: Port Adelaide: Butters, Duursma, Motlop, Clurey, Byrne-Jones, Boak Adelaide: O'Brien, M. Crouch, B. Crouch
Article last changed on Monday, August 03, 2020 - 12:39 PM EDT