Port pip Crows in AFL comeback thriller

Robbie Gray’s legend grew as new chum Steven Motlop entered Port Adelaide AFL folklore with a last-gasp match-winner to sink arch foes Adelaide.
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Gray booted six goals – including five in a brilliant 25-minute spree – in Port’s comeback five-point victory on Saturday against the Crows.

And ex-Geelong utility Motlop goaled with just 28 seconds remaining to steal a famous 14.11 (95) to 14.6 (90) triumph at Adelaide Oval.

Port were on the ropes early, trailing by 27 points, 20 minutes into the second term.

But triple club champion Gray’s stunning five-goal third quarter turned Port’s deficit into a 12-point three quarter-time lead.

“The ball just kept coming and everything just seemed to be clicking,” Gray said.

The Power stretched out to an 18-point buffer before Adelaide kicked three goals in a late flurry to take a one-point lead with one minute remaining.

Motlop then pounced on a loose ball and goaled on the run from 40 metres to snap Port’s five-game losing streak to their bitter rivals.

“It’s significant – he belongs,” Port coach Ken Hinkley said of Motlop.

“You need something like that, that makes you feel that way.”

Port moved to a five-three win-loss ledger – the same as the Crows.

“It’s a funny game, isn’t it?” Adelaide coach Don Pyke said.

“When you lose by under a goal, it’s a bit like the old saying: ‘sometimes you’re a bug and sometimes you’re a windshield’.

“And tonight we ended up being the bug.”

The Crows led by 21 points at halftime before Gray lit the fuse for the Power comeback.

Gray’s attacking colleague Chad Wingard and ruckman Ryder both kicked two goals, while former Brisbane captain Tom Rockliff (31 disposals) and Jared Poled (23 possessions) were influential.

Port skipper Travis Boak (24 touches), Ollie Wines (26 disposals) and Brad Ebert (24 possessions) provided the midfield grunt.

Adelaide’s Rory Atkins was a standout for his side with 29 disposals, Eddie Betts kicked three goals, while Mitch McGovern and Cam Ellis-Yolmen (20 disposals) booted two majors each.

Adelaide ruckman Sam Jacobs suffered back spasms in the opening quarter but, after treatment, continued playing.

And Crows captain Taylor Walker left the field in the second quarter with tightness in a glute muscle but also returned to action.

The Crows host the Western Bulldogs on Friday night and Port travel to China to play Gold Coast next Saturday in Shanghai.

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