Port Adelaide vs Brisbane Lions, Gold Coast Suns vs Sydney Swans

It wasn’t until the last 90 seconds of the first quarter, with the Swans already 33 points ahead, that Noah Anderson scored the Suns’ first goal of the season. Sam Flanders had another on the beat of quarter time to give them a pulse.

Former skipper David Swallow turned that pulse into a heartbeat with a third goal in two minutes of play early in the second. But by the end of the half, the Swans had restored a 29-point lead and were playing like they were the team with a point to prove.

A six-goal third quarter solidified that point and quickly put the game to bed. If classes last, as the saying goes, a bad day at the office last September didn’t stop the likes of Errol Gulden, Chad Warner, Callum Mills and Ollie Florent.

Still, they will meet tougher resistance than the Suns have provided. At times the game looked more like a training exercise, with the Suns barely being competitive at times. Where was the anticipation and intensity, even excitement, that an opening round match requires?

True, the game was played in exhausting conditions, with a humidity level of 90 percent. But that should certainly only have indicated a slight advantage for the home side. And they didn’t come to play.

The Swans lined up for goal, with 12 players hitting the target. It wasn’t always smooth – the ball was too slippery for that – but it was far too easy. Notwithstanding some late goals in junk time, this should put the Suns under the microscope next week.

Port recruits fire in 54-point win over Brisbane

Port Adelaide’s two valuable recruits made an instant impression on a 54-point Brisbane Lions belt.

Jason Horne-Francis was the best away winner and Junior Rioli scored three in the Power’s stunning 18.18 (126) to 11.6 (72) triumph at the Adelaide Oval.

Horne-Francis was outstanding with his 25 departures, including 10 within the 50s, 11 goal involvements and one goal – and he unleashed a game-winning power surge in his third term.

After trailing 10 points at halftime, Port scored eight to one in a crucial third quarter.

Horne-Francis, the No. 1 draft pick of 2021 who was eliminated after one season in North Melbourne, was wide in the rush with a dozen touches, five within the 50s and three clearances for the term.

Happy Port Days: Jason Horne-Francis hugs a teammate as Will Ashcroft looks on.

Happy Port Days: Jason Horne-Francis hugs a teammate as Will Ashcroft looks on.Credit:AFL Photos / Getty Images

And ex-Eagle Rioli was an ever-present threat to the lackluster Lions, who were well served by their own key signing, former bulldog Josh Dunkley.

Dunkley amassed 19 disposals and seven clearances, veteran Daniel Rich was the most influential with 26 touches while Lachie Neale was relatively muted with 20 possessions.

Brisbane were collectively overwhelmed after making the early run in a dominant second stanza interrupted by Port’s Charlie Dixon.

An abusive Dixon gave away consecutive 50-yard penalties when he was penalized for a high tackle on Rich, and the Lion scored the goal – the first of six majors as the visitors carved out an 18-point lead.

Dixon paid off some of his debt with a goal after the half-time whistle to leave the Power 12 points behind.

And Horne-Francis then burst into the limelight with his third-term performances as the lions withered.

Port’s tall forwards Todd Marshall (four goals) and Dixon (3.3) added a spectacular top score to Rioli’s startling haul.


Brownlow medalists Ollie Wines (29 disposals) and Zak Butters (24 touches) helped Horne-Francis dominate midfield, while defenders Ryan Burton (24) and Darcy Byrne-Jones (27) were successful ball winners.

Brisbane’s acclaimed debutant Will Ashcroft scored a first-class goal in his 13 touches.

And ex-Hawk Jack Gunston and Zac Bailey each scored two goals in a well-manned Lions forward line.

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https://www.smh.com.au/sport/afl/afl-2023-round-one-port-adelaide-recruits-fire-in-54-point-victory-over-brisbane-lions-20230318-p5cta2.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_sport Port Adelaide vs Brisbane Lions, Gold Coast Suns vs Sydney Swans

Ryan Sederquist

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