Port Adelaide staked a claim on Adelaide Oval as it powerhouse with a stunning 55 point win against Adelaide on Saturday.
In the closing seconds of the third quarter Port’s Jared Polec took four bounces down the member’s win and delivered a perfect pass to Jay Schulz, 30 metres out from goal; it was a statement of intent.
It put Port 30 points up, but it came just 12 minutes after the Crows had held the lead.
In the final quarter it was all Port.
They outclassed the Crows in the first AFL game at a redeveloped Adelaide Oval, giving their fans every reason to keep coming back to the city venue.
Adelaide Oval felt like home; just as West Lakes had never felt anymore than the Crows home that they had access to.
Coach Ken Hinkley knew this game was more than a football game; even more than a Showdown.
The build up had placed enormous pressure on the man who has guied Port out of the wilderness.
“I was going to say scared shitless,” Hinkley told media after his side’s big win.
“This whole fortnight has been pretty big for us as a football club and our supporters.
“We were coming home to Adelaide Oval – we won 21 (SANFL) flags here.
“We wanted to … come back home and make it feel like it was home. And our fans and our players, together they made it feel like home today.”
The result hurt Adelaide coach Brenton Sanderson, who described his side’s basic skill blunders and the heavy losing margin as “unacceptable”.
Crows coach Brenton Sanderson was disappointed.
“We had too many passengers, we had too many guys who didn’t contribute,” said Sanderson, whose Crows are win-less from two games this season.
“Seven or eight players could probably walk out of the changerooms with their chin up. The rest have got to have a good hard look at how they played.”
There were moments in this match that felt as though you were at the MCG; passionate supporters, enormous roars of the crowd and a classy stadium.
Times have changed in South Australian football…and the Adelaide Football Club has some work to do to build its own sense of place at the Oval.
PORT ADELAIDE 5.4 7.8 12.11 19.14 (128)
ADELAIDE 1.0 5.2 8.5 11.7 (73)
Goals: Port Adelaide: C Wingard 4 J Schulz 3 M White 2 O Wines 2 R Gray 2 Brad Ebert H Hartlett J Butcher J Westhoff M Lobbe T Boak. Adelaide: E Betts 4 M Grigg 2 B Smith J Podsiadly L Johnston R Douglas S Kerridge.
Best: Port Adelaide: H Hartlett Brad Ebert J Polec C Wingard J Schulz K Cornes O Wines. Adelaide: B Smith E Betts R Sloane R Douglas S Thompson D Mackay.
Injuries: Port Adelaide: Nil. Adelaide: B Crouch (leg) S Shaw (ribs).
Umpires: Justin Schmitt, Troy Pannell, Craig Fleer.
Official Crowd: 50,397 at Adelaide Oval.
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