The Crows’ hellish return to football was compounded when defender Jake Kelly exited with concussion in the first quarter after his head collided with Brad Ebert’s hip in an attempted tackle and captain Rory Sloane sat out most of the second half with a corked right thigh.
Sloane was up for the contest early when he slotted the opening goal then set up Darcy Fogarty for Adelaide’s second, the Crows with eight of the first nine inside-50s.
They failed to land another punch.
Connor Rozee’s snap inside the last four minutes of the opening term – on the back of successive Ebert tackles on Paul Seedsman – gave the Power their first lead, which they never looked remotely like relinquishing.
Port’s 13-point advantage grew to 32 at half-time after Ebert and Travis Boak goaled late courtesy of free kicks and 50-metre penalties for dissent against Brad Crouch and Wayne Milera.
Any prospect of a second-half Adelaide revival was emphatically brushed aside after Xavier Duursma’s six-pointer in the first minute of the third stanza.
Steven Motlop also began running riot, goaling twice – the first one after soaring for a spectacular mark over Seedsman, and the second one after dancing around hapless Tom Doedee, playing his first AFL game since last March.
When Motlop then set up Justin Westhoff’s second goal en route to a 64-point, three-quarter-time margin, all eyes were on the record books – which showed Port’s previous biggest winning margin in a Showdown, 65 points in 2001 – set to be obliterated.
POWER OF YOUTH
There had been much talk about how young the Crows became over the off-season, but they have some way to catch up to Port’s youth brigade, spearheaded by Rozee, 20, Duursma and Zak Butters (both 19).
Rozee gave the Power their first lead, set up Todd Marshall for another major moments later and his clearance work and play-making were of the highest class. His clever shark of Charlie Dixon’s tap and long handball set up Duursma’s first goal.
Moments later Butters got rid of Rory Atkins and produced a marvellous, instinctive soccer kick that went straight through the middle and cemented Port’s strong advantage.
STAY HOME FOG
Darcy Fogarty played parts of his junior career at Glenelg as a big-bodied, inside midfielder, was briefly trialled in the Crows’ SANFL backline last year and is now regarded as the future of Adelaide’s forward line.
But his ruck craft needs some work.
After slotting the Crows’ second goal, Fogarty headed straight to the middle to go against Justin Westhoff for the centre bounce.
Westhoff (644 career hit-outs) easily won the duel against Fogarty (one career hit-out), the ensuing Power clearance ending in a Marshall goal to kickstart Port’s revival.
PORT ADELAIDE 4.2 8.4 14.7 17.8 (110)
ADELAIDE 2.1 3.2 4.3 5.5 (35)
Port Adelaide: Duursma 3, Dixon 3, Westhoff 3, Marshall 2, Motlop 2, Ebert, Boak, Butters, Rozee
Adelaide: Sloane, Fogarty, Smith, Crocker, B.Crouch
Port Adelaide: Butters, Duursma, Motlop, Clurey, Byrne-Jones, Boak
Adelaide: O’Brien, M. Crouch, B. Crouch, Laird, Lynch.