With the 2019 AFL draft in the rearview mirror and club lists finalised for 2020, we decided – despite overwhelming popular opinion – that it’s not at all too early to start speculating about the season ahead.
Port Adelaide maestro Robbie Gray has kicked six goals to inspire his AFL club to a comeback five-point win against arch rivals Adelaide.
Gray kicked five goals in a 25-minute burst to propel the Power to a 14.11 (95) to 14.6 (90) triumph on Saturday evening at Adelaide Oval.
His new teammate, ex-Cat Steven Motlop, kicked the match-winning goal with just 28 seconds remaining.
The Power were on the ropes at halftime, trailing by 21 points after an error-riddled opening half before 50,967 spectators.
But Gray took control, kicking five goals in the third term as Port turned their deficit into a 12-point lead at the last change.
Port stretched out to an 18-point buffer before Adelaide kicked three goals in a late flurry to steal a one-point lead with one minute remaining.
Motlop pounced on a loose ball and goaled on the run from 40 metres to deliver the Power a famous victory.
The brilliant Gray, a triple club champion, was sensational as Port snapped a five-game losing streak to Adelaide.
The Crows enjoyed early superiority – after Port’s Paddy Ryder kicked the opening goal, the Crows booted the next four to take a 4.2 to 1.3 quarter-time lead.
Adelaide grew their advantage to 21 points at the long break before Gray lit the fuse for the Power comeback.
Gray’s attacking colleague Chad Wingard and ruckman Ryder both kicked two goals, while former Brisbane captain Tom Rockliff (31 disposals) and Jared Poled (23 possessions) were influential.
Port skipper Travis Boak (24 touches), Ollie Wines (26 disposals) and Brad Ebert (24 possessions) provided the midfield grunt.
Adelaide’s Rory Atkins was a standout for his side with 29 disposals, Eddie Betts kicked three goals, while Cam Ellis-Yolmen booted two among his 20 touches.
The Crows host the Western Bulldogs on Friday night and Port travel to China to play Gold Coast next Saturday in Shanghai.