Here we go – here we go! Betts again prominent, but its landed at the feet of Josh Jenkins – he’s hit one; the crowd think it’s a goal, but we’re going upstairs!
Has it licked the post? Is it a six or a one? We watch multiple angles – even the TV can’t entirely tell. It stays a major! And they’re back in front.
The Adelaide Crows – they lead by two! Two minutes to play!
A nervous and disjointed four minutes following Wingard’s fourth – and a harrowing miss for Ollie Wines. They were on top, but that’s taken a bit of the sting out of this purple patch for the Power.
And quick as a flash we’re up the other end – and to quote the most over-used phrase in the context of the mercurial Eddie Betts – “he’s fashioned something from nothing” – and finally, FINALLY, we’ve got a major from Betts!
We’re back to a four-point game, the Power with their noses just in front. Five minutes to play!
Sixteen to play in the final quarter – and we’ve got a two point game!
Port shift it, they get bodies round the pill, and there’s a terrific kick onto the chest. Take a guess – who do you reckon’s on the end of this: it’s Robbie Gray! Pressure set shot – and absolutely no mistake – a forth of the game to the 30-year-old!
The Power enjoying a mini-revival here – the Crows defenders swarm the contest – they’ve got plenty of bodies but to no avail. It’s spilled to Wingard – no, no – surely not! Oh yes!
Anything you can do, I can match, says the Chad – and it’s a quickfire fourth for him as well! Port Adelaide lead by ten! Ten to play.
He had a huge chance in the first half, and snagged it. He’s lining up another here, how crucial could this prove for his side? And the big skipper’s dragged one again! Another rushed behind just twenty seconds later, and they’ve crawled back to four points behind, have the Crows.
Eddie Betts is prowling. He’s lurking with intent – but even he can’t fashion the decisive shot. They’re taking body blows here, the Power, but have they still managed to protect their chin?
Matt Crouch lines one up – the wind is swirling, he’s a fair way out.. but he’s landed it! They’ve finally bagged one, the Crows! And they’re back in front for the first time since the opening quarter.
Ay, ay, ay!
I mentioned the big players, and with this one poised on a knife edge, we’ve seen the difference of experience shining through.
Robbie Gray and Chad Wingard – they’ve both fired third majors to race the Power out to a thirteen-point lead.
Meanwhile, at the other end, the youngster Gallucci has a golden opportunity to reduce the arrears, and he’s shanked one, from about 10m out!
Some defensive indiscretions from Port, and we’ve got a 50 for the Crows. Tom Doedee has done better – and he reduces the margin to one goal.
Half-time: Crusaders 20-6 Lions
And it’s very much unfolding as expected on a cool night in Christchurch, as the hugely experienced Crusaders march their visitors around the park.
Richie Mo’unga with some huge plays – one particular kick measured inch-perfect across about 50m, and it was his quick thinking that led to David Havili’s second try for the home side.
Will take something very, VERY, special from here for the Lions to jag it – but let’s face it. I think we all know how this one will play from here.
Three-quarter-time: Adelaide 9.14 (68) trail Port Adelaide 10.9 (69)
And like that, we’re eyeing another close one!
They continue to lead disposals, inside 50s and contested possessions do the Crows; and are they finally starting to build scoreboard pressure to match?
Six behinds that quarter, but three of those rushed – will the law of averages see them home, or will Port’s big-game players fire in the last thirty? Robbie Gray with a key mark late on, and they might have gone in by a greater margin had the siren not cut their last attacking play short.
In keeping with this remarkable round of matches though, this one could go right down to the wire.
Well, we’re bubbling here, but it’s not quite exploding. Half the crowd getting pretty excited then as Eddie Betts popped up in a decent position but even the wily maestro couldn’t find the right kick for the trick, and its another behind.
Five behinds for the quarter for the Crows, which means they still trail due to Travis Boak’s second of the game. To my knowledge there’s no concept of ‘assists’ in AFL, but if there was young Kane Farrell would have one of those to add to his three majors. A terrific kick over the top, and the skipper almost butchered it with a wee fumble close to the line.
And here we go, here we go! Is this the charge?
Tom Lynch with an absolute belter – and would you believe it – we’re all locked up again! 68 plays 68, with about five minutes left in quarter three. Game on – it’s Showdown 45!
Ooh, and back to the AFL, and after four consecutive rushed behinds (the Power have given away six of those so far tonight) we’ve finally got a major in the third quarter; Jordan Gallucci has slotted one for the Crows, and all of a sudden we’re back at a two-point game!
We’ve seen a four-point final margin, a three-point final margin today; can we go one better in Showdown 45?
107 has been the magic number today in the AFL, but at 59-61 perhaps our two sides at the Adelaide Oval might finish just short of the Hawks and the Roos’ mark.
Meanwhile, more images of an emotional Sharni Layton keep dropping on Getty.
I’m not crying, you’re crying.
We’ve had first points in the Super Rugby final – and it’s the Lions!
Don’t get too excited though, South African union fans, an early penalty was shortly leveled off, before Seta Tamanivalu crossed for the home side as they stretched the visitors edge to edge, before landing one in the corner. 10-3 to the Crusaders with just over 20 minutes played.
We’re also underway in our second NRL match of the day, where it’s a battle of the cellar-dwellars (ish) as the Eels narrowly lead against the Titans. 12-8 with just shy of 30 played.
Half-time: Adelaide 7.8 (50) trail Port Adelaide 9.5 (59)
A bit of a swing here, as the Port pull out to a 9-pt lead at the big break.
The Crows with more disposals, more inside 50s and shading the contested possessions, but they’re just not making it count as the Power seem the more dangerous at this stage.
Robbie Gray – as he does so often on the big occasion – deciding early on in the quarter that he’s up for it. Two majors inside five minutes for Port to hit the lead for the first time. Partner in crime Chad Wingard also grabbing a double, either side of goals for the Crows to Rory Sloane and Hugh Greenwood.
At less than two goals the margin it’s obviously not over this one, but the momentum is very much with the side fourth on the ladder.
And changing codes once again – we’re underway in Christchurch where the Crusaders are playing host to the Lions in the Super Rugby final. Will we see back-to-back championships, and experience the majesty of a breakdancing Scott “Razor” Robertson once again?
If you haven’t seen the Canterbury side’s coach in action celebrating silverware do yourself a favour and click on this.
As they say across the ditch, how many dudes you know roll like this?
Not many. If any.
And in the Super Netball it’s a disappointing end to an absolute legend of the game, as Sharni Layton’s Collingwood Magpies have gone down heavy 32-point losers to a finals-chasing Firebirds.
I don’t think I’m ready to say goodbye!
If you missed it, here’s Erin Dellahunty’s lovely yarn from a few weeks back.
And a few Diamonds leaving the game this round, with Erin Bell and Shae Brown also hanging up the spurs. A real changing of the guard.
All the best, legends.
And, let’s continue round the grounds:
An interesting one in the NRL, where the Warriors have keep the dream alive with a narrow win over the Dragons, running out 18-12 winners.
In classic Warriors’ fashion they scored all those points in the first half to run out to a 18-0 lead; only to put their long-suffering fans through another testing one as they failed to add a single point in the second.
St George couldn’t run them down however, and that’s surely (surely?) secured the Auckland outfit’s spot in the finals, no? They missed out in 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 (can you see where I’m going with this) but maybe, just maybe this is the campaign to turn it around for the Kiwis?
Quarter-time: Adelaide 5.3 (33) ties Port Adelaide 5.3 (33)
Well, some sharp footy in that first thirty – the Crows racing out of the blocks only for youngster Kane Farrell to put on a show; three goals from three chances – what is it; teenagers day in the AFL?
Just his second, third and fourth ever goals as a professional. They never hit the lead, the Power, but they counter-punched anything the Crows could throw at them. Darcy Byrne-Jones and Lachlan Murphy the other goalscorers for their respective sides.
Footy, eh? Anyone can be the difference – a teenager fires the winner in front of nearly 70,000 at the Gee in his sixth match. Love it.
Before we resolve the first quarter let’s race round the grounds and give you an update from anything you might have missed earlier in the day.
Staying with AFL, and we’ve started the day with two absolute nailbiters – Hawthorn have put a fair dent in Essendon’s finals hopes, shading a thriller at the ‘G by four points, 16.11 (107) to 16.7 (103).
Travis Colyer bombing one home with just 10 seconds to play, but it was a goal from James Worpel – in just his sixth ever game – shortly before that which effectively ended the contest; one that the Bombers led by 19 from the opening whistle, with three unanswered goals to start. It’s a tough run-in home now for the Bombers to make the eight.
And up in Queensland, North Melbourne have kept their faint finals hopes alive with another thriller at the Gabba – three points the difference this time in a near carbon copy as they downed Brisbane 16.11 (107) to 16.8 (104) victory.
The goals were shared around for the Roos with skipper Jack Ziebell leading the way with three. They’ll now await the results from elsewhere keenly, with Pies v Swans later tonight perhaps one fixture of particular interest.
AFL – Showdown 45!
So, we’ve had first bounce, and it’s a bright start for the Crows – they’ve taken just ten minutes to get flying; Josh Jenkins needing just 90 seconds to draw first blood, with skipper Taylor “Tex” Walker and Rory Sloane firing majors to race out to a 19-1 lead.
From there we’ve swung like a pendulum do, bobby’s on bicycles two by two, with Travis Boak and Kane Farrell returning fire for the Power.
Just a six point game therefore at the 1/8 mark in this one!
Evening all! Whatever code of sportsball floats your particular boat we have something in store for you tonight.
Super Rugby season 23 comes to a conclusion with New Zealand and South Africa’s top sides locking horns. Lions will be looking to go one better than their last two finals appearances, but in truth it will take something very special to stop the Crusaders juggernaut, as they eye a 9th title.
The regulation season of Super Netball concludes, with finals spots on the line. 5 does not easily go into 4, and for one of the Lightning, Firebirds or Vixens the campaign could shortly be over. No.3 plays No.5 on the ladder for a finals berth, while the top two sides duke it out to secure the privilege of a home semi-final.
The NRL sees six sides in action as early season pace-setters the Warriors battle for finals footy against the Dragons, while the Roosters look to consolidate a top four spot.
And we start and finish with the AFL – can the Swans arrest a horror late-season slump that’s seen them lose four of their last five? Or will the Pies win a 9th in 11?
Before all that there’s the tiny matter of Showdown 45 – the game that divides a state from Cameron’s Corner to Oodnadatta, from Ceduna to Mount Gambier. The Crows season in retrospect has never really taken wing after their loss in the Round 8 nailbiter; but can they throw some gravel in the Power’s fine machinery?
Find out the answers to all of this, here, at your home of Saturday sport on the Guardian.