Adelaide coach Brenton Sanderson knows February isn’t a time to get excited.
But he had a glint in his eye after his prized recruit Eddie Betts sparked a 60-point smashing of Port Adelaide in Sunday’s AFL pre-season game.
Betts, the former Carlton forward, booted five goals on debut in Adelaide’s 0.18.11 (119) to 0.9.5 (59) win at Richmond Oval.
The Crows’ other big-name signing, ex-Geelong premiership player James Podsiadly, was also unveiled for the trouncing of a Port side missing their best dozen players.
Betts’ initial two kicks in Crows colours were goals.
And Podsiadly kicked a major after his first mark for his new club, then set up the next goal, as the duo made an instant impression by featuring in five of Adelaide’s first six goals.
Their feats came amid an early Adelaide blitz which returned the initial seven goals of a game against an inexperienced Port outfit, as Betts ran rampant.
“I gave (list manager) David Noble a wink about the five minute mark of the first quarter when he had his second (goal),” Sanderson said of Betts.
“He’s a really good pick up for us. I’m really proud of how he has settled into our football club straight away. And he has been a great leader off the training field … he is set for a big year.”
Port’s acting captain Angus Monfries was the only member of the Power’s eight-strong leadership group to play.
And Port’s two best forwards (Chad Wingard and Jay Schulz), two best backmen (Alipate Carlile and Jackson Trengove) and best ruckman (Matthew Lobbe) also didn’t play.
The absences created a stark class gap, though Power coach Ken Hinkley was unperturbed.
“We put some players out there to give them a taste,” Hinkley said.
“I can’t sit here and say I’m worried about the end result because we made a decision that is the position we were going to put ourselves in.”
Adelaide dominated the midfield with Richard Douglas (two goals), Matthew Wright (36 disposals, two goals), David Mackay (26 touches) and newcomer Matthew Crouch (23 possessions) all influential.
In contrast, Port struggled to find a clear winner though Aaron Young (20 disposals, two goals), Andrew Moore, Matthew Broadbent (22 possessions) and defender Lewis Stevenson battled gamely.
And the Power’s boom recruit, ex-Brisbane onballer Jared Polec, was eye-catching in patches, gathering 20 disposals in a debut which heartened Hinkley.