Port and injuries deal big blow to Crows - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Port and injuries deal big blow to Crows

By Daniel Brettig 27/08/2006 04:22:12 PM Comments (0)

Port Adelaide and injuries conspired to put a mighty dent in Adelaide's AFL premiership hopes.

The undermanned and inexperienced Power ran out the stronger in the second half to win 14.11 (95) to 11.15 (81) at AAMI Stadium.

But it was serious third-quarter injuries to key forward Trent Hentschel and defensive general Nathan Bassett that had the second-placed Crows looking in serious trouble just two weeks out from the finals.

Hentschel wrenched his right knee 22 minutes into the second half, and Bassett suffered a serious blow to his face in a head clash with Brett Ebert nine minutes later.

Both Crows were stretchered off, and Chris Knights and Ben Hart were also absent through injury in the final term as Port claimed its first Showdown win since 2004.

Showdown medallist Chad Cornes, Ebert, Brendon Lade and Danyle Pearce were all outstanding for the Power, which showed it can look to 2007 with confidence in a young list and aggressive gameplan.

Adelaide was disadvantaged before the bounce by news that captain Mark Ricciuto had failed to recover from flu in time to play, his place taken by Knights.

Without their skipper, the Crows needed a fast start, having begun tardily in each of their past four games.

They made the early running via goals to Matthew Bode and Scott Welsh, and Port was made to look a long way off the pace, particularly through the middle.

However, Adelaide wasted its dominance with a series of behinds plus a couple out on the full, and a 3.8 (26) to 1.2 (8) quarter-time score was scant reward.

Sensing an opening, Port fired into action after the break, and by the 19th minute had snatched the lead.

The Crows regrouped with the final two goals of the half, but a nine-point gap left the game very much open.

It was opened wider still in term three, as Port forged to the lead after the Crows had opened with the first two goals of the half.

The Power was unquestionably helped by the injuries to Hentschel and Bassett, but was able to build its game on some handy centre work and plenty of leg speed to catch Adelaide on the rebound from increasing turnovers.

Further injury problems for Hart and Knights left the Crows with only 18 fit men as the final stanza began, and they visibly tired in the first 10 minutes, which passed without a goal.

Eventually Port gained an overlap, and Stuart Dew managed to overtake Nathan Bock for a soccered goal that pushed the margin to a game-clinching 13 points.

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