AFL 9 days ago

Crows Obliterate Port Adelaide In Showdown 43

  • Crows Obliterate Port Adelaide In Showdown 43

    ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 06: Sam Jacobs of the Crows celebrates after kicking a goal during the round 20 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the Port Adelaide Power at Adelaide Oval on August 6, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

  • Crows Obliterate Port Adelaide In Showdown 43

    ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 06: Power players look on dejected after the round 20 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the Port Adelaide Power at Adelaide Oval on August 6, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

  • Crows Obliterate Port Adelaide In Showdown 43

    ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 06: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been converted to black and white.) Rory Laird and Tom Lynch of the Crows walk from the field after the round 20 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the Port Adelaide Power at Adelaide Oval on August 6, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

ADELAIDE                              1.9       5.15     12.18   18.22 (130)

PORT ADELAIDE                  1.1       1.3       4.4       7.4 (46)


 

It was as big a build up as any Showdown before it. It promised so much, yet ultimately would boil over into as one-sided a contest as we’re ever likely to witness again between these two South Australian heavyweights.

Adelaide got the balance right between knowing when to handball and when to kick from the onset, slicing through Port Adelaide's structures like a knife through butter.

Despite the treacherous conditions, the Crows handled the ball as if it were dry, and were far more effective than Port in their execution, albeit on the scoreboard - kicking an inaccurate 1.9 for the term.

Tom Lynch's nine first quarter disposals saw him start his 100th senior game in his usual workmanlike fashion. Richard Douglas and the Crouch brothers were just as busy, as the Crows' unheralded midfield utterly took control of the contest in the opening stanza with Adelaide winning the contested possession count by 21.

Rory Sloane got the early jump on Travis Boak in their mooted private duel, while in the other much anticipated matchup, Crows ruckman Sam Jacobs was at his brilliant best against the leading candidate for this year's AA ruck position in Paddy Ryder.

Big 'Sauce' stamped his authority over his more-fancied opponent with a dominating display in the first quarter, capped off by nailing the Crows' only goal of the term after beating Ryder in a crucial one-on-one marking contest inside 50. Jacobs won a first quarter-high six hitouts-to-advantage, with two of those launching scores for his side.

The Crows onball brigade were far more hungry and ferocious from the get-go. The early signs were disturbingly worrying for the Port faithful watching on, as the demolition job came despite Adelaide losing one of its prime runners David Mackay to a corked quad in the opening minutes of the match.

Port's decision to play a spare at the defensive side of every stoppage was rendered ineffective through their inability to win the hard-ball, or handle the ball cleanly at any stage under a mountain of opposition pressure.

On the very rare occasion the ploy paid off for Port, the spare man would blaze away with an ill-directed kick straight into the waiting arms of Adelaide's spare, namely Jake Lever, who was perfectly positioned a kick behind the play - the far more appropriate deployment of a spare given the abysmal conditions.

Jake Lever won four intercept possessions (including an intercept mark) for the quarter, continuing his enviable trend of four intercept marks per game this season, ranked No.1 in the AFL for this crucial statistical category.

How Ken Hinkley and his coaching staff decided this would be an effective blueprint for dismantling the top of the table Crows was beyond most of the 45,000 plus in attendance, and no doubt those watching on at home.

Given Port's propensity to struggle to hit targets under pressure, let alone in trying conditions, it was a brave move that backfired miserably for the Port coaching panel.

It went from bad to worse in the second term as Port had all but conceded the battle for territory and sent every man back in a desperate attempt to stem the tidal wave of Adelaide inside 50s.

Sensing blood was well and truly in the water, it was none other than superstar small-forward Eddie Betts, fresh off surgery to remove his appendix only a fortnight earlier, who sent the pro-Adelaide crowd into absolute hysterics with a miracle checkside kick against a near-impossible breeze in his self-titled pocket, as only Eddie can do.

Adelaide captain Taylor Walker, the leading goalscorer in Showdown history, further ignited his teammates and the crowd with two inspirational goals in as many minutes.

Leading from the front, 'Tex' used brute strength to fend off his rival captain Travis Boak with consummate ease and snap truly, before marking strongly and converting from 50m to send the Adelaide crowd further into frenzy.

It was clear to everyone there was no way known Port would mount a comeback, let alone trouble the scoreboard.

Jake Lever would go on to record another five intercept possessions in the second quarter with his fifth launching an important goal to Hugh Greenwood. Lever was a standout in the first half, repelling any semblance of territory gain Port Adelaide could muster.

The centre square may as well have been re-painted inside Adelaide's 50m arc, such was the Crows time in forward-half dominance – Adelaide had 58 more forward half disposals, 15 more inside 50s and 11 more shots-at-goal in the second term.

Port could count themselves extremely fortunate to only trail their crosstown rivals by 36 points at the half, in what was statistically the most one-sided first-half in the history of Showdowns.

It was Port's second lowest score to half-time in their history, the lowest ever score to half-time by any side at Adelaide Oval and the second lowest inside 50 count to half-time by any team this year - mind boggling records were being broken.

The second half started in similar fashion as the Crows piled on another two quick goals in succession courtesy of Betts and Jacobs, to make it seven straight unanswered goals in Adelaide's favour and two goals apiece for those two, who were well and truly on top in their own individual battles.

After Robbie Gray received a 50m penalty and converted from point-blank range to break the string of Adelaide goals, Brad Crouch immediately left first year sensation Sam Powell-Pepper for dead at the next centre stoppage to slam one home on the run from 60m out.

Brad and his younger brother Matt had combined at the stoppage, after Jacobs had again out-witted Ryder in the ruck - summing up the story of the day for Port Adelaide as the aforementioned trio toyed with their midfield opponents all afternoon.

The Eddie show then reached its climax soon after, as Betts stitched up yet another Goal of the Year contender with a ridiculous dribbled goal from the boundary line 40m out in the south-western pocket, after Josh Jenkins had masterfully tapped the ball down his path drawing on his personal repertoire of basketball skills.


Jenkins would finish the quarter strongly with two goals of his own in time-on to stamp his authority on his individual battle with Jackson Trengove, and send his team a resounding 72 points up.

The Crows' other basketball convert Hugh Greenwood was growing in the contest and devastating in the clinches - showing more polish in the wet than many of those more seasoned around him.

Greenwood had a hand in almost every Adelaide goal during the all-important premiership quarter, while attacking the contest harder than anyone on the field as he amassed a career high 12 tackles to half-time, and 13 in total on the day.

The Category B Rookie elevation continues to elevate his game to new levels in his debut season; owning the mantle of Adelaide's best pressure player since his debut game in round nine.

Greenwood would finish the game with 13 of his 15 possessions being contested, 4 clearances and a goal in an outstanding individual performance.

The Crows continued their midfield dominance, winning the clearance count 20-7 in the third term, generating 21 points to nil from clearances for the quarter. Port’s midfield were being taught a footballing lesson.

The final term saw more of the same as Lynch celebrated a goal in his milestone match, Sloane got on the scoreboard, and Jenkins added another two to his tally while Betts and Walker added to their own goal tallies to comprehensively do away with Port Adelaide to the tune of 84 points - the single greatest winning margin in Showdown history.

Capping off a momentous week for the ladder leading Crows, Sam Jacobs was awarded the Showdown Medal for his outstanding performance against Ryder; drawing level with Showdown specialist and Adelaide legend Mark Ricciuto, and former Port Adelaide star onballer Josh Francou in the process.

For the visitors, Robbie Gray battled manfully all day for his 33 possessions; playing the lone hand for a Port side bereft of any passion, fight or hunger.

Watching on in devastation, Power coach Ken Hinkley and his associates could only scratch and shake their heads in utter disbelief at what had unfolded. Despite the Crows being hampered by injuries throughout the day to the likes of David Mackay, Daniel Talia, Charlie Cameron, Riley Knight and Hugh Greenwood, his side could not muster a whimper in the crucial clash of the South Australian giants.

His side headed into this match needing to cement a place inside the top-4 and prove their worth against quality opposition, but unfortunately failed the test miserably.

Having an intimate knowledge of the club and its supporter base, this performance will not be forgiven, or forgotten for quite some time.

If Port Adelaide are to challenge for a place in this year's premiership race, they simply must respond over the final three weeks of the home and away season against opposition they are expected to put away with ease.

The conundrum for Port Adelaide then turns into whether doing so will erase the demons of this nightmarish performance, and their record against top-8 opposition throughout season 2017.

Before the match, Port had generated 12 more inside 50s per game than their opponents this season (ranked No.1 in the AFL), but had gone inside 50 four fewer times per game against top-8 teams, the eighth-worst differential recorded by any side in 2017. Against the Crows, the worrying trend continued, culminating in a whopping differential of 50.

A week of soul-searching lies ahead for the Power, while the Crows firmly set their sights on an Essendon side desperately clinging to its own top-8 hopes

Stats courtesy of AFL.com.au and Footywire.com

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