Power up in thriller over Pies
PHIL Walsh was proud of the first centre set- up he devised for the opening of Adelaide Oval in last year’s first Showdown in the city. He would have smiled again last night.
As Port Adelaide’s midfield coach last season, Walsh watched the sequence that is part of football history at the Oval: Ruckman Matt Lobbe with the first hit- out; Travis Boak with the first clearance and first handpass and Ollie Wines with the first possession from the break.
It was even neater last night. Lobbe with a hit- out. Wines with the clearance and long, direct kick from the centre circle that now symbolises Walsh. And if the umpires had a sense of theatre, they would have paid Jay Schulz a mark for his leap to the heavens in the pocket.
Walsh would have been applauding. And delighting in how the fans were up from their seats again falling in love with the game that has had its heart carry heavy pain for the past week.
Port Adelaide last night – in the 15th week of its most inconsistent AFL season in the three under Ken Hinkley’s rule – opened its home game against Collingwood with that beautiful football that makes more than Power fans smile.
Collingwood put the match back in the balance with four unanswered goals in the second quarter. Port Adelaide rediscovered so much of itself and of its team game with a season- saving three- point win.