Round 20 – Adelaide v Port Adelaide: Port pipped at the post in a Showdown thriller

Adelaide v Port Adelaide

4:05PM, Saturday Aug 4

Adelaide Oval



There’s nothing like a hard-fought Showdown to whip the state of South Australia and the football world into a frenzy; Saturday’s nail biter was no exception, proving once and for all that a prime-time grudge match between the yuppies and the wharfies isn’t far away.



The Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide, two more diametrically different clubs you’d be hard to find. One born in the Port, solid, industrious, resilient and bred to succeed. The other new, young in age and football nuance, two premierships in the 1990s as unexpected as they were resounding, but lacking success of late. Trauma and tragedy have followed both clubs of recent times, Phil Walsh’s death a reminder that footballers are human, if only at times. The supporters of both clubs eager, fuelled by contempt for each other and the vast socio-economic differences that split wallets and the state.



Twice a year these two football adversaries come together in a battle for pride, and on Saturday and in Port’s case a spot in the top four come September. That the final margin was yet again three points is ample proof that no side would let up nor give in inch to the hated others.



The Crows season has spluttered and spun out of control since the infamous Camp Krusty on the Gold Coast in the pre-season, where things were said and done that hampered rather than helped the team focus on 2018. It proved to be a monumental distraction, and the form line since shows recovery was a bridge too far. Port Adelaide, good enough to match anyone yet so unsure at times; the Fremantle loss recently a mystifying slip up that may cost dearly in the run home. Port’s best is great to watch, and any club with Robbie Gray, Chad Wingard and Paddy Ryder on their books will always be dangerous yet can be so mentally lazy at times as to almost fall asleep against seemingly more inferior opposition.



The supporters of both camps never seem at ease with each other. Too much water has passed under the bridge for any real respect or acceptance. Saturday was no different; Port are loud and proud while the Crows show a restraint in their chatter, a hearty clap and a “go Crows” as much as many can muster until the siren blows. Port Adelaide fans will never die wondering and they give it everything to lift their charges.



For much of Saturday’s game scores are neck and neck. Port with their more dangerous forward line and fluent ball movement create opportunities and head the scoreboard, but never by more than a couple of goals. The Crows know where the goals are and when they’re near them they score.



For three tense and frantic quarters the game is played with aggression, passion and zing and Port head into the final quarter with a slender lead. It’s an illusionary one. For all of Port’s attacking they can’t finish off Adelaide and that’s bad football. The Crows are annoyingly capable of scoring late in games just when they need to and Saturday night was no different. With an Ollie Wines miss, inexplicably from 20 metres out, a kick that should have ended with a goal and should have sealed the Yuppies fate missed everything and the Crows could sense a final push for victory.



Most games swing on a few key moments, and Wines’ missing opens the door for Josh Jenkins, who snaps what will turn out to be the decisive goal not long later. If it was actually a goal is now firmly in dispute, but that won’t change the result nor appease Port fans everywhere who are seriously browned off. Post or no post, that is the question. Possibly, but the AFL and broadcasters lack of good, informative camera angles make this call hard to argue. Regardless, by game’s end it was the Crows holding sway and Port were left to again wonder how a golden opportunity to cement a top four position slipped away.



A 50,000 crowd would have warmed the hearts, not mention wallets of the SMA, but it surely must be time for the AFL to act and put this game on a Friday night next year. Let the whole AFL community see what those 50,000 experienced on Saturday for themselves.



The Crows are doomed to finish outside of the finals battle after a season where little has gone right; ironic after a grand final appearance just under 12 months ago. Port will need to regroup and try to win at least two out of their final three minor round games to secure a finals birth, and possibly top four if they are good enough. It won’t be easy.


Twitter – @chrismwriter


ADELAIDE                               5.3  7.8   9.14   13.18 (96)
PORT ADELAIDE                   5.3  9.5   10.9   14.9   (93)  

Adelaide: Jenkins 3, Sloane 2, Walker, Murphy, Greenwood, Gallucci, Lynch, Doedee, M.Crouch, Betts
Port Adelaide: Gray 4, Wingard 4, Farrell 3, Boak 2, Byrne-Jones

Adelaide: M.Crouch, Gibbs, Jenkins, Sloane, Atkins, Doedee
Port Adelaide: Gray, Polec, Wingard, Ryder, Byrne-Jones, Boak

Crowd: 50,377




  1. Why Wines, and many others, went for the round the body kick just beggars belief. Never saw Plugger do anything beyond run straight and kick straight through the ball. Dunstall too. His technique is generally good enough to do the drop punt. I thought overall the Balance Sheets played slightly better, if they had kicked straight they would not have needed a poster goal. But it never alters the depth of contempt for them.

  2. What ever crap,Port come up with is reality Adelaide 1st year 1991,Port Adelaide 1st year 97
    and sooner a club has some balls and bans this round the corner garbage the better

  3. John Butler says

    Chris, that was a close run thing by any measure, no matter your take on the final goal.

    I think of Port a bit like GWS: they are great with the game on their preferred terms (as good as anyone) but there’s not much of a Plan B.

    By recruiting Watts, Rockliff and Motlop in one hit, I’m not sure you did much to alter that imbalance.


  4. Loved your intro Chris explaining the history of the Chardonnays and the Wharfies. “Footballers are human, if only at times”.
    I can’t wait for the Shuey/Polec Cup replay on Saturday. Double chance on the line for both clubs. Ryder will be pivotal. If he can give your mids first dibs you should be able to beat a Gaff/JK less Eagles. But Adelaide is our happy hunting ground.

  5. Bucko – I agree. Just kick it straight. Back yourself in to kick the goal from 20 metres out. Annoys me.

    Rulebook – Port est. 1870, the Crows 1991.

    John Butler – Agreed. Plan B needs work, and Plan C too would help at times.

    Peter_B – Thanks for the compliments. It will be an interesting game, especially with past history so raw still and needing to win regardless to keep finals alive and maybe top 4.

  6. Port Power.




    No, 1997!

    Ad infinitum.

  7. Mickey Randall – No such club as “Port Power”.
    And pretty much the whole planet knows Port Adelaide were formed in 1870.

  8. Dave Brown says

    Both clubs are basically the same. Both are organisations effectively owned by their members but run at the whim of the AFL who has the ability to spill their boards and change the board membership whenever they like. The Port Adelaide that exists now is substantially different to the Port Adelaide that existed in the SANFL which was owned by its members and members could elect and spill the board. Both clubs operate as shells designed for the distribution of South Australian money to Victoria. The rest is prejudice dressed as narrative.

  9. I will give Port one thing they have been successful in brainwashing supporters of course it is 97 that is common sense can’t have history in a comp your not in

  10. I love this banter regarding Port’s birthdate

  11. Dan Hansen says

    So in 1994 the Port Adelaide Football Club based at Alberton Oval and established in 1870 wins the tender for the second SA license. Then in 1997 a club called the Port Adelaide Football Club and based at Alberton Oval, but had absolutely nothing to do with the Port Adelaide Football Club which won the 1994 tender, enters the AFL.

    I will give Graham Cornes three things. Chad, Kane and he has successfully brainwashed Crows supporters into believing his idiotic argument that Port Adelaide Football Club didn’t exist before 1997.

  12. Dan Hansen- Three things only? You’ve obviously not been in an near empty pub and heard Cornesy’s Allstars amble through “Cherry, Cherry.” Neither have I, but I’m assured Graham’s guitar work approaches scintillating competence!

  13. What a pathetic club,Port is then born in 1870 but didn’t have its 1st win till 97 of course it started in 97
    Let’s use common sense

  14. And how goeth Norwood in the AFL?

  15. Dan Hansen says

    It looks like Norwood changed it’s legal structure in 2002 when it became an incorporated entity, therefore becoming a new club.

    Norwood Football Club (est 2002): 1 Wooden Spoon and 3 meaningless Premierships in a reserved competition.

  16. Hear, hear Sir Dan. Plus at least one conviction for salary cap rorting….

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