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Underestimate Port Adelaide at Your Own Peril



Emerging Midfield Brigade Outshines Brisbane

That was the message Ken Hinkley’s men emphatically delivered to the AFL world on Saturday night, with an emerging midfield brigade pummeling a listless Lions outfit. Jason Horne-Francis starred in his first game in Power colors, but had ample help in the midfield from Connor Rozee and Zak Butters as the trio gave Port fans a glimpse of how damaging they can be.

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Port Adelaide Dominates After Brisbane Takes the Lead

Brisbane led by 18 points deep in the second quarter after a Jack Gunston goal before Charlie Dixon goaled on the half-time siren. And it was all Port Adelaide from there as Hinkley’s troops kicked a whopping 13 goals to three — including eight unanswered — to seal a whopping 54-point win, 18.18 (26) to 11.6 (72). The Power got the perfect start, with key forward Todd Marshall snapping a tough set-shot for the opening goal of the game.

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New Recruits Make Early Statements

Port Adelaide could’ve been much further in front if it’d kicked straight. But the team’s dominance came from its “proactive” midfield brigade. The Lions conversely were “reactive” and stuck in a “malaise”. Prized Port Adelaide recruit Jason Horne-Francis won an early clearance then minutes later nailing a long-range goal to set Adelaide Oval alight. Junior Rioli — Port Adelaide’s other big recruit — got his confidence up early by converting his set-shot and giving the Power a 14-point lead.

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Lions Fight Back, But Power Responds

The Lions finally responded though, with ruckman Oscar McInerney nailing a super long-range goal to get his side going. Scoring dried up for several minutes before Joe Daniher took an unlikely mark close to goal for Brisbane. The key forward steady and converted to cut the Power’s lead to 10 points at quarter-time. But the Lions hit back late in the quarter, with recruits Conor McKenna and Jack Gunston flushing set-shot opportunities to extend Brisbane lead beyond two goals.

Port Adelaide’s Midfield Overwhelms the Lions

The Power’s midfield completely overwhelmed the Lions in a third quarter demolition job. The Power finished +49 for disposals, +10 contested ball, +6 tackles, +9 clearances, +15 inside 50s and +44 points in a third quarter belting.”

The Changing of the Guard

When Brisbane added the likes of Josh Dunkley and Will Ashcroft to their already stacked midfield featuring Lachie Neale, many experts tipped the Lions for premiership success. But against a young Port Adelaide, it was clear there was a “changing of the guard” as a new dominant force emerged. “In years gone by it’s been: ‘Let’s go to Robbie Gray, let’s go to Travis Boak to sort it out for us.’ It had to happen, there had to be a changing of the guard and their hand has been forced – Boak’s injured and Robbie Gray has retired – but at some stage these boys had to put their hands up and it’s looking good,” said commentator Garry Lyon.

Power Runs Out Comprehensive Winners

The Power party continued in the fourth quarter as the hapless Lions failed to put up a fight. Dixon kicked his third major three minutes into the final term before Ollie Wines, Connor Rozee and Marshall added three majors to extend the Power’s lead beyond 10 goals. Bailey kicked a late consolation goal, but it did little to deter the positive vibe at Adelaide Oval as the Power ran out comprehensive winners.


The impressive performance from Port Adelaide’s emerging midfield brigade has set the tone for a changing of the guard as a new dominant force on the AFL scene. The Lions had previously been tipped for premiership success, but their lackluster performance against the young Port Adelaide side should serve as a warning to all who underestimate them in future games.



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