Big showdown


Power v the Crows, Adelaide Oval

The first major event at the Adelaide Oval after its $575 million makeover, sadly not the Rolling Stones- but for many South Australians something even more visceral than rock and roll: the return of Australian Rules Football. And what a return: both of South Australia’s national (AFL) league clubs: Port Adelaide Power versus the Adelaide Crows, playing a league match for the first time in the City Centre.

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The Adelaide Oval from the River Torrens

Everywhere we went, evidence of the showdown- Crows and Power colours at the supermarket checkout, on the bus, in the pub, fans in club guernseys (we Brits would use a different Channel Island to describe the sporting apparel). It’s like the North London derby, or Man United v Liverpool (sorry, Everton), without the simmering undercurrents of potential violence – but with emotions that run no less deeply. The Crows, to some, usurping upstarts who, with the connivance of the South Australian Football League, poached all Port’s best players to join the national (AFL) league as recently as 1991. The Power, to others, deserting traitors to the SA league. Power from the less well-heeled northern suburbs, the Crows from a more genteel fan-base. It’s show time.

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Tommy Thunda, Port mascot with a fan

It’s like the North London derby.

We were en route for a cinema preview showing of Grand Budapest Hotel, but caught the third, and decisive, quarter in the Stag on Rundle Street. After an early Power lead, the Crows had clawed their way back into the match, only to be literally over-powered by the Power, eventually the comfortable winners by 128-73. Post match, the city had a buzz only known during Fringe time.

Welcome back, footie.

See also Footy (AFL) at the Adelaide Oval Part One and Footy (AFL) at the Adelaide Oval Part Two.

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