The 2023 AFL finals series is here.
As we swing well and truly out of home and away mode and into the cut-throat environment of finals footy, the matches start to become more magnified.
We have taken a close look at each of the four finals in Week 1 to deliver a Rivalry Rating and all the history involved with the two clubs in the spotlight.
See the Brisbane v Port Adelaide rivalry rating below:
Rivalry Rating: 8/10
In the early 2000s, this was quite the rivalry. Two emerging clubs with two of the best coaches (Leigh Matthews and Mark Williams) in the game leading the way.
A bit like this weekend, the Lions finished second after the 2001 home and away season with the Power in third. They met at the Gabba, with the Lions winning by 32 points. Port then lost at home to Hawthorn to crash out of the finals in stunning fashion.
2002 was a blown opportunity for Port. After finishing top, the Power lost at home to Collingwood and ended up having to travel to the Gabba for preliminary final. They were well beaten again.
Their third and final finals appearance during these hectic few years was the 2004 Grand Final, the first all non-Victorian Grand Final in League history. It was quite the afternoon.
Talk to the Port Adelaide players from that time and they will say that save for the Showdown, this was the match-up that got them going.
There is just one. The 2004 Grand Final was a great game, despite the score line, a 40-point win to Port Adelaide.
The Lions were seeking four straight flags to equal the mighty Collingwood ‘Machine’ outfit of 1927-30. And with a one-point lead at half-time, they had every chance to do so.
But they faded badly after half-time. Having to play an earned home Preliminary Final against Geelong at the MCG because of an AFL agreement didn’t help, and the younger, fresher Port Adelaide drew away in the second half to win by 40 points.
It released all sort of pressure hovering over the Power, especially coach Mark Williams, whose choking gesture and “Allan Scott, you were wrong!” remarks post the Grand Final were epic and still vividly remembered today.
Mark Williams: An inaugural Brisbane player who was coach of Port Adelaide throughout their finals rivalry with the Lions.
Alastair Lynch: The champion Lions full-forward went out swinging in the Grand Final and received a 10-match suspension on three counts of striking Port defender Darryl Wakelin. Not that he ever served it because the 2004 Grand Final was his last game.
Martin Pike: In the days after the Grand Final, Shane Wakelin, who played for Collingwood, went into bat for his twin brother and criticised Lynch for his actions. This prompted Lynch’s teammate Pike to ring journalist Damian Barrett at the Herald Sun to say of both the Wakelins, “They both sleep with the light on and in bunk beds.”
Brisbane hosts Port Adelaide in the Second Qualifying Final at the Gabba this Saturday night from 7:25pm AEST.