Port Adelaide are third on the AFL ladder after surviving a scare from the Adelaide Crows to win Showdown 50 by four points.
- Aliir Aliir was the best on ground for Port Adelaide, with 10 intercept marks
- Port were behind for most of the contest before kicking three final quarter goals
- Richmond and St Kilda also collected wins on Saturday
Port defender Aliir Aliir was a star for his side with a career-high 10 intercept marks, keeping his side in the contest as they came from behind to win.
After leading briefly in the first quarter, Port trailed for most of the game until goals from Sam Powell-Pepper and Charlie Dixon sealed a 7.13 (55) to 7.9 (51) win.
The Crows looked like causing an upset coming off a horror week where they lost their captain Taylor Walker for the rest of the season following a racist comment during a state league game.
From midway through the first quarter to midway through the last term the Crows had the lead over Port, who were fighting to cement themselves in the top four.
But the class of Port Adelaide shone through, while the Crows finished the game with two fewer interchange players after Will Hammil and Brodie Smith left the field.
Aliir Aliir, who won the Showdown medal for best on ground, said the team was pleased they could win a tough game.
“We didn’t really turn up in the first half but we got the chocolates in the end,” he told Fox Footy.
“You want to come out and play well every week, we know sometimes it doesn’t happen. As long as you’re winning it doesn’t matter.”
Both sides produced a scrappy opening half with accuracy on goal an issue.
With one goal each the Crows led by a solitary point at the first break, with the tight affair continuing in the second quarter.
But the Crows started to win the contested ball and were able to convert that into scoreboard pressure.
They kicked all three goals in the second quarter including two goals to Ned McHenry to take a 4.6 (30) to 1.5 (11) half-time lead.
Port pegged the deficit back to 10 points at the end of third quarter, with the Crows still holding hope of pulling off the upset.
The start of the final term was a disaster for the Crows who conceded a goal and had a player taken off on a stretcher in just 21 seconds.
From the centre bounce the ball was kicked into Port Adelaide’s attacking 50, when Crows players Nick Murray and Will Hammil collided with each other going for the ball.
The back of Hammil’s head hit the ground hard after the heavy contact, forcing him off the field. The ball ended up in the hands of Port’s Orazio Fantasia who kicked the goal to bring the Power within four points.
Powell-Pepper and Dixon kicked two quick goals mid-way through the final term to give Port an 11-point lead.
A late goal to Tom Lynch gave the Crows a chance at victory before Aliir Aliir sealed the win with his 10th intercept mark.
Port need just one win in their remaining two games to ensure they finish in the top four, after the Sydney Swans fell to St Kilda.
St Kilda led at every break in the 14.9 (93) to 10.4 (64) victory.
Jack Higgins led the way for the Saints with four goals while Jack Steele had a game high 34 disposals.
Richmond overcome North Melbourne to keep season alive
Reigning premiers Richmond have kept their AFL campaign alive by surging over the top of North Melbourne by 33 points with an irresistible second-half performance.
The Tigers appeared to be crashing to a seventh defeat from eight games when they trailed the bottom-placed Kangaroos by 26 points late in the second quarter at the MCG.
But the Tigers looked like the side who has won three of the past four premiership in the second half, with a seven-goal burst during the third term driving Richmond to a 13.11 (89) to 8.8 (56) victory.
Despite their poor form over recent months, Richmond remain in contention to secure a finals berth for the fifth-straight season.
The Tigers will need to win both of their remaining matches, starting with next week’s game against GWS, to be any chance of finishing inside the top eight.