Pre-Season Showdown Wrap Up: Port Adelaide Excite While Adelaide Search For Positives
Aliir Aliir of Port Adelaide and Riley Thilthorpe of the Adelaide Crows during the 2021 AAMI Community Series match between the Adelaide Crows and the Port Adelaide Power at Flinders University Stadium on March 7, 2021 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Sarah Reed/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Port Adelaide kicked the first two goals of yesterday's pre-season showdown against Adelaide and never looked back to finish 71 point winners. Though just a pre-season match, the level-gap was showcased between the Adelaide teams heading into the season: one seems a premiership contender, and the other is just beginning their slow build back towards contention. While there was plenty to be excited about for Power fans, Crows supporters must look for positives in an ultimately disappointing day.
Port Adelaide’s mix of veteran and exciting young players played a fast and dominant game around the ground. Power half-back flanker Dan Houston headlined the stat sheet with 34 disposals and a goal but showed his biggest impact on-field with his accurate and penetrating kicking.
New recruit Allir Allir’s size and aerial skill added a new dimension to The Power’s defense with 14 marks; while fellow addition to the side Orazio Fantasia was lively but inaccurate early, kicking 3 goals and 3 behinds.
Youngsters Rozee and Butters were highly impressive for Port Adelaide, kicking three goals between them and causing havoc with their speed and skillful ball use. Young Power defenders Lachie Jones and Miles Bergman also looked comfortable and played key roles in Port Adelaide’s win.
Adelaide’s midfield mix of Sloane, Crouch, Laird and rotations Keays and Shoenberg edged out the Power midfield 28-25 in clearances and an impressive 15-6 in centre clearances. While their stoppage game looked sharp, questions arose from their lack of pace, explosiveness and height around the ground. Some of those questions could’ve been answered by damaging midfielder Wayne Milera, who after suffering a ruptured patella tendon in last week's trial game, the Crows will have to live without for most of the season.
Rory Laird of the Adelaide Crows during the 2021 AAMI Community Series match between the Adelaide Crows and the Port Adelaide Power at Flinders University Stadium on March 7, 2021 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Sarah Reed/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
21 year old key defender Jordon Butts impressed for Adelaide with a strong performance on Power forward Charlie Dixon, keeping him to one behind and a mark in the half that he played. With such a great defensive performance the young defender is sure to play his third AFL match in the coming weeks.
The historic and beautiful Adelaide Oval is ready to welcome back 40,000 fans for the first time since COVID-19, for a clash between Adelaide and Geelong on March 20th. In the clubs’ previous meeting in 2020, the Crows stayed competitive against last year’s grand finalists for three and a half quarters until a late three goal burst sealed it for the Cats.
Port Adelaide will travel into Victoria high on confidence to start their premiership tilt against a young North Melbourne side at Marvel Stadium on March 21st. The Power aim to replicate their recent history of round one wins dating back to 2016 to begin their season on a high after last year’s preliminary final heartbreak.