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The Five: Round 20

Kym Morgan, AFL Media  August 6, 2017 8:33 PM

Highlights R20: The Eddie Betts Show Eddie Betts provides one of the better highlight reels in the Showdown win over Port Adelaide

1. Wet weather Crows a lock for top four
It didn't get much sweeter for Crows fans. They humiliated their cross-town rivals with the most dominating performance in Showdown history and in the process have secured a double chance in the finals. The Crows produced an absolute masterclass on a slippery day in Adelaide are becoming one of the best wet weather teams the AFL has seen. The Crows have now buried Fremantle, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs in wet or greasy conditions and have an ability to handle the ball like it is dry. Port became their latest victim and were made to look like witches hats during a first half where only their poor kicking prevented an even bigger blowout. Some of the first-half statistics show this was one of the biggest hidings you'll ever see. The Crows won first-half possessions 224 to 131, inside 50s 43-11, and contested possessions 97-65. They finished the game with a stunning advantage of 50 for inside 50ms (81-31) and won by a Showdown record 84 points. It was a smashing and Adelaide must be considered the premiership favourite.

Match report: Crows v Power

2. Week of soul-searching at Port 
Port Adelaide coaches and players alike must take a serious look at themselves after a performance which threatens to undo a solid season of work. The Power struck the top side at its best, but were uncompetitive, particularly in the first half. The Power have been competitive almost all year but their players came with the wrong mindset and their coaches came with the wrong plan. Port allowed Adelaide numbers behind the ball and spare players around the contest. It was also smashed in the contest. The belting it took in this area and its unwillingness to go one-on-one with Adelaide cost the side dearly. To put Adelaide's dominance into perspective, it had 140 possessions in its forward half of the ground to half-time. Port had just 34. Port's first-half score of 1.3 was the lowest in its history. The Power's season will unravel very fast if they can not quickly redefine what they are about in 2017. They looked dispirited in this clash.

 3. Eddie, you genius
There was doubt about whether Eddie Betts would be fit entering this match and he dismissed any concerns as only Eddie can. The Crows superstar had missed a match after having his appendix removed and was only passed fit to play the day before the Showdown. Fans were glad he did when Betts thrilled them with two pieces of typical genius en route to a four-goal game - the sixth time he has reached the mark against the Power. The first was banana goal from 35m out in his own pocket early in the second term, a piece of genius which released the goalkicking yips for the entire club. Adelaide had kicked 2.11 until Betts stepped up and nailed the shot. Then Betts receive a standing ovation after a miracle shot from the boundary during the third term. Running away from the goals under the Riverbank stand, Betts dribbled the ball through to produce yet another goal of the year contender. His performance will please coach Don Pyke and it was his first significant contribution in more than a month.

4. Crows have have stamped their authority on Showdown rivalry
This win marked the first time Adelaide has won five Showdowns on the trot and it gave them a head-to-head lead in the match-up (22-21) for the first time in more than a decade. And, for the first time Adelaide can really claim to own its cross-town rival. It was the second time in as many seasons the Crows have walloped the Power by more than 50 points and it has now become hard to see where Port's next Showdown win will come from. Port Adelaide ruckman Paddy Ryder was uncharacteristically poor in the opening half after talking midweek about his club's "hatred" for the Crows. That loathing he talked of was not obvious to see from the way Port attacked the ball. Adelaide owned their rivals around the contest. The Crows were too good in the air, too clean on the ground and outworked and outran Port as evidenced by their numbers at the contest. Port fans won't want to hear this but it might be a while before they win another Showdown.


5. Adelaide must present an open cheque book to Lever

Jake Lever again showed on Sunday why a defection from the Crows at season's end would rival that of Patrick Dangerfield post-2015. Lever led the League in intercept marks before be he went down with a hamstring strain a month ago and he bounced straight back into that form against Port. The half-back was like a wall in the opening half and helped Adelaide obliterate Port. Lever led all-comers with five marks to the main break and again showed he is likely to become a generational defender and a key bookend for the Crows if retained. His final numbers were just solid but to half-time he was among the best on the park. Crows football operations manager Justin Reid failed in his key task of securing an elite midfielder during the off-season. He must now be given a mandate to do what it takes to get Lever's signature. He should be harshly reviewed if he can not deliver.