With the Grand Final played and won, the long dark no football months of summer lie in wait for us. In an effort to bring some light to this miserable time, The Pinch Hitters intend to take a look back at the season that was and celebrate the great moments of season 2018. Today we shine a spotlight on Port Adelaide, who despite failing to live up to preseason expectations still produced moments to savour. Lets count down the Top Five.
5. Tribute to Todd
It was a moment that nobody in attendance will forget.
The Round 19 match against the Western Bulldogs represented Todd Marshall’s return to footy after the loss of both his parents saw him take an indefinite break from the game. At the 13th minute mark of the first quarter, the Adelaide Oval rose as one for a minutes applause to let their number 13 know that the Port Adelaide community was behind him after his devastating loss. In a sign that some things transcend the game, the moment also saw Marshall’s opponent Hayden Crozier put his arm around him in a wonderful moment of sportsmanship.
4. SPP’s Shanghai Special
In a wet weather slog that never hit any great heights, Sam Powell-Pepper waited until the games final minutes to produce his Shanghai Special. Deep in the forward pocket Powell-Pepper gained possession of the Sherrin just before it bounced out of bounds. With ball in hand he was swarmed upon by Suns defenders and was knocked to the ground as he made a path towards goal. Rather than be deterred, before his opponents could react, he managed to kick the ball over his head for a goal while still lying on his back.
As remarkable as the goal was, it was all the more so as the 20-year-old was only in space because he had checked on umpire Leigh Fisher after having made heavy contact with him moments earlier. It would prove doubly fortuitous with the action not just responsible for his Goal of the Year nomination but perhaps also for him not receiving a fine for umpire contact when the MRP sat on the Monday afternoon.
3. Taming the Tigers
Hosting the defending Premiers at the Adelaide Oval on a Friday night in June offered the Power an gilt-edged opportunity to prove their bona fides to the football world. After an even first term, Port trailed by seven points at the first break but were set to crush their visitors in the second term.
With Chad Wingard on fire in the middle and Justin Westhoff causing the Richmond defence all manner of headaches, Port kicked seven goals to two in a blistering term to take a stranglehold on the game. With the Premiers refusing to lie down, Port needed to weather a strong second half onslaught but were up to the challenge to claim a valuable 14-point victory.
2. Wines Signs On.
It was no surprise, given his status as one of the competitions leading inside midfielders, that there was a feeding frenzy for the services of Ollie Wines with him seemingly in no rush to extend his contract that was set to expire at the end of the 2018 season. A much loved figure at Alberton and earmarked as a future captain it made for some anxious moments for Port fans and administrators alike. All of which made the June announcement that he had signed on until the end of 2022 all the sweeter.
1. Showdown XLIV and Motlop’s Goal
What a game! What a finish!
For many judges Showdown XLIV was not just the best home and away game of the 2018 season but perhaps also the greatest of all showdowns and its hard to argue with them. At half time however, with the Power trailing by 23-points, there was no hint of the drama to follow.
An electrifying third quarter from Robbie Gray earned him a third Showdown Medal and turned the entire contest on it’s head. At his absolutely damaging best Gray collected seven disposals, four of which were contested, three clearances and his 100% disposal efficiency included five of his six goals for the game. The 30-year-old’s efforts were the back bone of the Power’s seven goal to two quarter which saw them turn for home with a 12-point lead.
The final term was an arm wrestle but when Sam Powell-Pepper’s eighth minute goal remained unanswered as the game entered time-on it appeared that Port’s 17-point lead would be enough for victory but the Crows had other ideas. Three quick goals to Eddie Betts, Taylor Walker and Mitch McGovern saw Adelaide take the lead late.
Then with 29 seconds left on the clock and the Crows clinging grimly to their lead – enter Steven Motlop. You all know what happens next but check it out again in the video below.