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Opinion

AFL top 100 : The champions of Port Adelaide

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Roar Rookie
25th April, 2020
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Despite having been around for 150 years, Port Adelaide has been a fairly recent addition to the AFL having joined in 1997, and they won their first and only premiership in 2004.

Three years later they made the big stage again, but were thumped by Geelong by 119 points.

In their 24 years in the AFL, the Power have had a number of champions, but only one player so far has made it to 300 games with the club to secure a spot in the AFL all-time top-100 game players. Kane Cornes finished his career on exactly 300 games and currently lies in equal 81st place with nine other players: Lance “Buddy” Franklin (Hawthorn and Sydney), John “Sam” Newman (Geelong), Kelvin Moore (Hawthorn), Garry Foulds (Essendon), Barry Breen (St Kilda), Francis Bourke (Richmond), Mick Martyn (North Melbourne and Carlton), Rohan Smith (Western Bulldogs) and Gavin Wanganeen (Essendon and Port Adelaide).

Cornes, who shares the famous South Australian footballing name with his father Graham and brother Chad, all of whom made All-Australian, debuted at Port Adelaide in 2001 and played through until 2015. His 300 games include an impressive run of 174 successive games, the ninth-best of all time and the record for a Port Adelaide player. When you consider that the current best streak at the Power is 31 games by Darcy Byrne-Jones, it is a record that may not be broken for some period of time.

Not so secure, however, is his mantle as the greatest game player ever at the club. The next two on the list are current players – Justin Westhoff and Travis Boak – and both are within two good seasons of toppling his record. Whilst Westhoff is already 33 years old and may struggle to pass Cornes, Boak is still only 31 and in career-best form.

Travis Boak

(Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Cornes’ record is impressive. As well as being a member of Port Adelaide’s only premiership team, he won four Best and Fairests and made All-Australian twice. His 93 goals for the club still place him inside the top 20 of the top-100 goal kickers of all-time at the club.

An AFL record closer for Justin Westhoff to achieve is the record for the most number of AFL games in the number 39 jumper. Presently he sits in third position behind Darren Milburn (Geelong) and Tony Liberatore (Western Bulldogs), but is only 24 games away from passing both of them and if the 2020 season ever gets going again – which is looking more likely – he could achieve that milestone early in the 2021 season.

Westhoff made his debut in Round 10 of the 2007 season against Hawthorn and remained in the team for the remainder of the season, all the way through to the grand final loss to Geelong. In every game except Round 16 against Richmond and the grand final, he managed to kick goals and finished the year on 34 goals. He has continued to be a consistent goalkicker for the club despite being used regularly as a swing player to shore up the backline and now has a total of 303 goals.

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Although he has not managed to beat the number of goals he achieved in his debut season of 16 games, he held the record for the second most number of goals for Port Adelaide until surpassed by teammate Robbie Gray during the 2019 season.

Travis Boak, the only one of the top-three game players to not be recruited from the SANFL was recruited from the Geelong Falcons with draft pick number five in the 2006 season and – like Westhoff – debuted for the club in 2007. Although not as proficient as Westhoff in front of the goals, his 171 goals has him just outside the club’s Top ten goal scorers, and his other achievements are also impressive: captain of the club for six years, twice All-Australian and dual winner of the Best and Fairest (John Cahill Medal), the second win coming in the last completed football season of 2019.

What will be the “games played” order by the end of season 2021?