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Opinion

AFL top 100 Round 2: The Showdown

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Roar Rookie
30th May, 2020
7

Ever since Port Adelaide played Adelaide at Football Park on 20 April 1997, the local derby has been known as the Showdown.

It was Port Adelaide’s first year in the AFL and the Power won this first contest by 11 points. Since that time, the competition has been fierce, and in home and away matches the tally stands at 23 wins each, with the one finals game between the two sides on 10 September 2005 at Football Park resulting in a comfortable victory for Adelaide.

In Round 1 Port Adelaide scored the biggest win of the round, comfortably beating last season’s wooden spooners the Gold Coast Suns to finish the round on top of the premiership ladder. Adelaide, on the other hand, suffered a nail-biting loss to the Sydney Swans by three points resulting in currently sitting at 11th on the ladder.

The game should be a close tussle as Port Adelaide finished tenth in 2019, one position ahead of Adelaide and one game better off, and both teams were considered to be underperformers last year. Adelaide in particular started the year well but finished the year losing seven of their last nine games.

Adelaide has a new coach this season after Don Pyke stepped down, and former Sydney player Matthew Nicks will be keen to record the first win of his senior coaching career while Ken Hickley at Port Adelaide has only once failed to record a 50 per cent or better result in his seven completed seasons at Power and has coached the team into the finals on three occasions.

Hinkley – now the seventh most experienced current coach and #46 on the all-time top 100 games coached list will be keen to improve on his ninth ranking success rate among his peers.

Due to a change in focus over the past two years, both clubs go into the 2020 season with less experienced lists than they had in 2018. Whilst the change in average games played is only four at Port Adelaide, Adelaide’s average games per player dropped by a massive nine games and the club is now ten games per player less experienced than the Power list.

Among the big names no longer at the Crows are Eddie Betts and Josh Jenkins, who between them contributed over 600 goals to the Crows, resulting the average goals per Crow dropping from 49 goals to 32 goals. What is surprising, however, is that the Power’s average goals per player is now 13 goals better than Adelaide, suggesting a more attacking approach.

Taylor “Tex” Walker is the only player in either team who is a member of the elite AFL Top 100 where he sits in equal 88th position with Melbourne’s Russell Robertson. Walker, now in his 12th season with the Crows but no longer captain, is already the greatest goalkicker in the AFL to wear the number 13 jumper.

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For Adelaide, no less than eight players could improve their standing on the Crows top 100 game players list, including Luke Brown and Tom Lynch.

At Port Adelaide, the milestones that could be achieved involve ten players if they are all chosen to play in the game which is now just under two weeks away. Two Eberts could be involved: Brad Ebert will move up the top 100 game-players list if he plays, whereas Brett Ebert will move down the list if Hamish Hartlett plays. Other players to advance include Tom Jonas and Darcy Byrne-Jones.