Feels just like home
STEVEN Motlop did not know what score was needed to avoid another derby defeat — nor how much time he had — as he sized up the northern goals at Adelaide Oval to launch the kick that announced his arrival at Port Adelaide.
“I was unsure how long was left,” said Motlop of the winning kick that stopped the time clock at 21 seconds to play and ticked over the scoreboard to show the Power five points up.
“I knew it was under a minute ... and, to be honest, I thought we were down by more than a point.
“I wasn’t thinking about making sure I got at least a point to draw the game. I just tried to kick a goal.
“What a first Showdown for me. If that is what a Showdown is about, I am looking forward to plenty more.”
The Power stretched out to an 18-point buffer before Adelaide kicked three goals in a late flurry to take a one-point lead with one minute remaining.
Motlop then pounced on a loose ball and goaled on the run from 40m to snap Port’s five-game losing streak to their bitter rivals. “You have to stay composed in those situations,” he said.
“The Crows put numbers behind the ball (to protect the one-point lead with 42 seconds to play) and you have to even that up, somehow — and create a scoring opportunity.
“I went forward and we got the ball forward (from the centre bounce). Sam Gray was re- ally clean in his pick up ... and the rest just happens.
“It is a pretty special moment ... I don’t think I’ve heard a crowd that has been that loud in my whole career. So it was great to get it done for them.”
Motlop, after 135 games in eight seasons at Geelong, was one of the Power’s three major signings in the off-season, along with former Brisbane captain Tom Rockliff and Melbourne forward Jack Watts.
Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley made mention of all three after Showdown 44, which levels the derby ledger at 22-22. “It’s a significant (goal); he belongs,” Hinkley said of Motlop.
“Tom Rockliff (31 disposals) was outstanding; enormous. That’s why we brought them to the club — to put scoring threats in scoring space.”
The Crows led by 21 points at halftime before Robbie Gray lit the fuse for the Power comeback. Chad Wingard and ruckman Ryder also kicked two goals each, while Rockliff (31 disposals) and Jared Polec (23 possessions) were influential.
Port skipper Travis Boak (24 disposals), Ollie Wines (26) and Brad Ebert (24) provided the midfield grunt. For Adelaide, Rory Atkins was a standout with 29 disposals, Eddie Betts kicked three goals, while Mitch McGovern and Cam Ellis-Yolmen (20 disposals) booted two majors each. Power: R.Gray, Jonas, Rockliff, Ryder, Wines, Neade, Powell-Pepper, Wingard. Crows: Gibbs, Greenwood, Laird, M.Crouch, Betts, Atkins. Power: R.Gray 6, Ryder, Wingard 2, S.Gray, Boak, Powell-Pepper, Motlop. Crows: Betts 3, EllisYolmen, Walker, McGovern 2, Atkins, Jenkins, Douglas, Seedsman, Lynch. Power: Stoppages 4.1 (25) Fwd half stoppages 4.1 (25) Intercepts 9.9 (63) Fwd half intercepts 5.4 (34) Crows: Stoppages 3.4 (22) Fwd half stoppages 2.2 (14) Intercepts 11.2 (68) Fwd half intercepts 5.2 (32) Power: Nil. Crows: Walker (glute), Jacobs (back spasms) Donlon, Haussen, Meredith 50,967 at Adelaide Oval. HOT: Robbie Gray (PA) 122 pts (94% TOG) NOT: Jack Watts (PA) 56 pts (72% TOG)