It is not like Port Adelaide fans have needed too many home and away memories to satiate their taste for success. After all, the men from Alberton had won 11 premierships in the SANFL in the two decades leading to their inclusion in the AFL in 1997. Yet despite an existential crisis early this decade, the Power have found plenty of joy in the national competition, even if home and away success helped breed a colossal ape on Mark Williams' back between 2002 and 2004. Here are five of their best non-finals wins.
1. Adelaide v Port Adelaide Round 4 1997, Football Park
Having lost the fight to become the first South Australian entrant into the national competition - Port Adelaide had been denied by the other nine SANFL clubs - years of pent up tension was allowed to spill out on this Sunday afternoon in April, with South Australia stopping for the first Showdown. The Power had opened their AFL account by beating Geelong the previous week, but still were not expected to topple the more experienced Crows. However, with Darren Mead, Shayne Breuer and Brendon Lade leading the way, Port held sway at every change and withstood a late Adelaide comeback to prevail by 11 points. Tony Modra booted seven for the losers, but Scott Cummings' four goals for Port were pivotal.
Donald Dickie and John Cahill celebrate in 1997 Photo: Bryan Charlton
2. Port Adelaide v Brisbane Lions Round 22 2002, AAMI Stadium
Having risen up the ladder in 2001, Port had improved again in 2002. They entered their final round clash against the reigning premiers playing for top spot on the ladder. What ensued was an AAMI Stadium classic, with Port coming from 10 points down at the long break to lead by 28 at three-quarter-time. Leigh Matthews' side was not done yet though, charging back into the contest and regaining the lead inside the final five minutes. But with the Power trailing by a point, Roger James put them back in front when he snapped truly from the pocket with less than two minutes left on the clock. The Lions still would not relent, and were deep into attack when the siren sounded. Port had clinched the McClelland trophy with a six-point win. It was all to little avail though for the Power, who were upset by Collingwood at the same venue six days later in the qualifying final, and ended up losing to eventual premiers the Lions in the preliminary final.
Roger James celebrates after kicking the game-winning goal Photo: Bryan Charlton
3. Port Adelaide v Adelaide Round 19 2013, AAMI Stadium
The Power had not made the finals in six seasons, and arrived for the final ever AAMI Stadium Showdown in eighth place on the ladder, one game clear of Carlton. The Crows' season had never really got going, but they remained a slim chance of sneaking into the eight if they could knock off Port. What followed was a topsy-turvy struggle in which the Power relinquished a 21-point half-time lead, to fall 20 points behind in time on of the last quarter. However, goals from Robbie Gray and Chad Wingard drew Port back to within eight points, before a desperate Angus Monfries kick took a devilish bounce and skewed back through for a major. Wingard then had a set shot with 30 seconds left, bagging his fifth to secure an astonishing win for his team, who would go on and end their September drought.
Chad Wingard enjoys a goal Photo: Getty Images
4. Western Bulldogs v Port Adelaide Round 12 1997, Optus Oval
Port had yet to win a game in Victoria when they travelled to Carlton for a date with the ladder-leading Bulldogs, and their chances of recording a first victory across enemy lines looked slim when they trailed by 40 points at quarter-time. But John Cahill's men showed they were made of stern stuff, kicking four goals to nil in the second quarter to gain a foothold in the match. Still 12 points adrift at the final change, the Power kept coming, storming home to win by two goals. Cummings was again instrumental with five goals, while Brayden Lyle deservedly took the three Brownlow votes for a 28-disposal showing. The day was doubly special for Port: Not only had they broken through in Victoria, but they had also regained a spot in the eight.
Brayden Lyle in action Photo: Ken Irwin
5. Port Adelaide v Collingwood Round 15 2015, Adelaide Oval
Six days after their beloved former assistant coach had been slain, Port returned to the field for the first time to pay tribute to Phil Walsh. While the evening was tinged with emotion, the stakes were also high, with the Power entering the clash 2½ games out of the eight. Port burst out to a 26-point quarter-time lead, only for the Magpies to hit back, narrowing the difference to just beyond a goal at half-time. The second half was an even affair, with the hosts doing enough to claim a three-point win. Ollie Wines starred with 33 disposals, eight clearances and 10 tackles. Yet the night is best remembered for the scenes after the game, in which the stadium's lights were turned off before a touching presentation honouring Walsh.
Travis Boak and Ken Hinkley embrace after the siren Photo: AFL Media/Getty Images