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Opinion

Looking back at the 2004 AFL grand final

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Roar Rookie
3rd July, 2020
7

With Port Adelaide taking on Brisbane on Saturday night at the Gabba, let’s take the time to look back on Port Adelaide’s 2004 AFL premiership, their first in the national league.

Brisbane were denied their elusive four-peat at the hands of the minor premiers, falling to the Power 17.11 (113) to 10.13 (73) in front of a crowd of 77,671 at the MCG.

Small forward Byron Pickett led the way for the Power, claiming the Norm Smith medal with a classy 20 disposals, nine inside 50s and three goals.

Midfielders Peter Burgoyne and Kane Cornes proved their worth, playing pivotal roles through the middle. Burgoyne accumulated 25 disposals, while Cornes held former Brownlow medallist Simon Black to just 15 touches for the day.

Five-time All Australian Gavin Wanganeen was among Port’s best afield, turning the game in Port’s favour with four late goals, two either side of three-quarter time.

After an early surge from the reigning premiers, which resulted in the first two scores, Port managed to wrestle back control with midfielder Josh Carr booting the first goal of the match.

Peter Burgoyne displayed his class in the first quarter, collecting plenty of the ball and finding targets inside 50. Stand-in captain Warren Tredrea capitalised on Burgoyne’s ball use going forward, kicking the Power’s third with Brisbane yet to register a major.

Mal Michael’s repeat defensive efforts throughout the quarter culminated in a jaw-dropping 50-metre set shot goal from Jason Akermanis, his first of Brisbane’s two goals in the opening quarter.

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

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Tensions were high from the outset but reached boiling point late in the opening quarter when Alastair Lynch and Darryl Wakelin exchanged punches at the city end.

Lynch came from the ground late in the opening term with a left thigh injury that would severely curtail his influence on the remainder of the match, spending extended periods on the bench.

Byron Pickett kicked the final goal of the quarter to put himself among the best afield in the opening quarter and stretch Port’s lead to 15 points at the first break.

Pickett asserted himself as Port’s best afield early in the second quarter with a four-bounce running play out of defence that brought the crowd to its feet. Before giving the Power faithful more to cheer about with a 45-metre running goal to extend the margin to 19 points, six minutes into the quarter.

After a slow start the Lions made their presence known, booting four goals in quick succession to hit the lead.

The Lions’ hot patch included a thrilling left foot Jason Akermanis drop punt from deep in the pocket, his third of the match from as many disposals.

Soon after, Tim Notting received some reward for his efforts around the ball with a well roved snap from the top of the goal square to give the Lions a six-point lead.

Port Adelaide’s Toby Thurstans stabilised the Power, going into the long break with a set-shot goal to bring the game to within the narrowest of margins.

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The opening stages of the second half were tightly contested, with the two sides exchanging crucial goals early on.

Brisbane midfielder Tim Notting once again led the way for the Lions, kicking two consecutive goals within as many minutes to put his side back in the contest.

Notting’s hard work around the ground set up struggling centre half forward Jonathan Brown for his first shot of the afternoon. Brown’s wayward kick gave the Lions a one-goal lead 20 minutes into the quarter.

It was the Power who managed to grasp their opportunities with an enthralling ten-minute passage of play late in the third term.

Josh Mahoney stamped his authority on the game with a goal and assist within the ten-minute burst, while Byron Pickett continued his ascendency, facilitating Port’s forwards inside 50 to help the Power kick clear.

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Gavin Wanganeen’s trademark class in front of goal came to the forefront late in the quarter as he booted two of the Power’s three late goals to take a 17-point lead and all the momentum into the final break.

Picking up where he left off, Wanganeen slammed home a further two goals to start the final quarter, bringing his goal tally to four and stretching the margin to 29 points, all but cementing Port Adelaide’s premiership glory.

The Lions gave themselves a chance eight minutes into the quarter, narrowing the margin to 21 points via the boot of Daniel Bradshaw.

However, two missed opportunities in front of goal proved costly as Port Adelaide found their form again.

The Power kicked the final three goals of the match through Toby Thurstans, Stuart Dew and Adam Kingsley to write their names in footy folklore with their first flag in the national competition.