Sport AFL Port gallop away from fading Crows

Port gallop away from fading Crows

Robbie Gray
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Port Adelaide kicked away late to beat the Crows by 55 points in the first AFL match at the redeveloped Adelaide Oval on Saturday.

The Power, inspired by midfielders Hamish Hartlett and Brad Ebert, claimed an historic 19.14 (128) to 11.7 (73) victory.

Port forward Chad Wingard kicked four goals, while Jay Schulz bagged three before a sell-out 50,397 crowd at the newly completed stadium, which officially reopened after a $535 million redevelopment.

Port’s Robbie Gray, Ollie Wines and substitute Matthew White each booted two majors while Hartlett, Ebert and Jared Polec were dominant in midfield.

Adelaide recruit Eddie Betts potted four goals but the Power prevailed after withstanding a third-term challenge from their enemy.

Port had skipped to a 28-point break early in the second quarter, only for the Crows to fight back and take the lead when Brodie Smith goaled on the run 13 minutes into the third term.

Smith’s blow sparked an emphatic Port reply: they kicked the next five goals in a 14-minute purple patch and led by 30 points at three quarter-time.

Port’s victory was well-deserved after they dominated early: ruckman Matthew Lobbe became the answer to a trivia question when he kicked the first goal at the newly-completed oval just 76 seconds into the game.

Lobbe’s blow set the tone for Port, whose big guns Justin Westhoff, Hartlett and Gray all fired to help create a 5.4 to 1.0 quarter-time lead.

But the Crows, despite a succession of basic skill blunders, clawed their way back into the contest thanks to their prized recruit Betts.

The ex-Carlton goalsneak scored three goals in the second term as Adelaide reduced the deficit to 18 points at halftime.

Betts added another in the third before Smith’s long bomb gave the Crows the lead for the first time in the match.

But Port responded with aplomb, kicking 11 of the last 14 goals of the game.

Hartlett capped his outstanding game with a goal early in the last term which sealed consecutive victories for the Power this season, while Adelaide remain win-less.