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’s Robbie Gray has masterminded a 57-point belting of arch foes Adelaide in their AFL grudge match.
The Power produced a third-term battering of the Crows in their comprehensive 15.11 (101) to 5.14 (44) win at Adelaide Oval on Saturday.
The brilliant Gray engineered a five-goal burst in 11 minutes as Port replaced Adelaide in seventh spot on the ladder.
Gray collected 35 disposals, including 10 and four clearances in the third quarter blitz.
The Power led by three points at halftime against a wasteful Adelaide, who kicked 4.11 for the half.
Crows captain Taylor Walker then sank a long two-step snap within 15 seconds of the third quarter – ultimately Adelaide’s final goal of the game.
From then, the Power kicked nine consecutive goals in a spree triggered by ruckman Scott Lycett’s superb 40-metre goal on the gallop.
Lycett’s team-lifter was followed by first-year forward Connor Rozee springing to life with two goals as Port piled on five goals in 11 minutes.
Port’s three-time club champion Gray was instrumental, with Tom Rockliff (36 disposals) and co-captain Ollie Wines (33 disposals) forming a dominant midfield.
Riley Bonner (27 touches) and Darcy Byrne-Jones (31 possessions) offered great drive from defence and Justin Westhoff (23 disposals, one goal) was prominent.
Port’s Brad Ebert was superb with three goals in attack, alongside Sam Gray and Dougal Howard who kicked two apiece.
The Crows’ surrender before 50,544 spectators came despite the efforts of Matt Crouch (29 disposals), Brodie Smith (25 touches) and Rory Laird (25 possessions).
Captain Walker booted two goals but the Crows succumbed alarmingly easily in their second loss in a row.