Showdowns: Port, Crows to clash twice in 2021
The 2021 AFL fixture has landed, and there are some key games already locked into the calendar for Port Adelaide and Adelaide.
Below is an analysis on which matches Power and Crows supporters will be most looking forward to.
Port Adelaide fans will be marking one date in their 2021 calendars: April 9.
It's when 2020's minor premiers, Port, will be looking for revenge for its preliminary final defeat at the hands of Richmond, when they take on the Tigers in Round 4, at Adelaide Oval in a blockbuster Friday night game.
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It's one of a number of marquee games handed to the Power by the AFL in the opening six rounds of the 2021 season, including a night game against St Kilda at home on Anzac Day.
Meanwhile, the Power's new recruit, Orazio Fantasia has learnt he won't have to wait long to face his old side, with the Port to take on Essendon at Adelaide Oval in Round 2, on March 27.
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As the AFL revealed its entire 2021 fixture - but the times and dates locked in only for the first six rounds - Port Adelaide's chief executive Matthew Richardson said the club was happy with what lay ahead.
"To have the first six rounds locked in, with a really good mix for our members with some great games at Adelaide Oval, Round 2 against Essendon on a Saturday night, into Richmond on a Friday night will be huge," he said.
"Our No. 1 request each year, is generally ANZAC Day, it's a really important game culturally for our football club and to be able to play St Kilda on ANZAC Day is an enormous privilege not only for our football club, but for a lot of South Australians … it will be an amazing occasion."
But the AFL has not scheduled a game for the Power in China, after this year's game was cancelled, but Richardson said this did not derail the club's interest in the region.
"It's common sense with everything going on, we appreciate and fully understand the AFL's decision on it," he said.
"As we've said consistently, the China strategy for us is not reliant on playing a game, we've got some strong partnerships there still and play will maintain those and at some point in the future the opportunity (to play in China) might come again."
The biggest games on the SA AFL calendar - the Showdowns - will take place in Round 8 (Port at home) and Round 21 (away).
Richardson said Port would ask the AFL for the right to wear its historic Prison Bars jumper in Round 8.
"Anything we can be doing to strengthen the connection that our members and supporters have with their clubs, we should be doing and that's what the Prison Bars are all about, it's our people's guernsey," he said
Among Port's other big matches, it will host Collingwood in Round 19 (commencing July 23) and end its minor rounds at Marvel Stadium against the Western Bulldogs.
Port will travel to Perth once, twice to Queensland, once to Canberra and six times to Melbourne, including two games at the MCG and will play St Kilda, Collingwood, Western Bulldogs, Carlton and Adelaide twice.
The AFL has handed Adelaide a six-month wait next year before it faces former club champion Brad Crouch in his new St Kilda colours.
The league released the 2021 AFL fixture yesterday, revealing the Crows will play the Saints only once in 2021, travelling to Cazaly's Stadium, Cairns, in early June to take on their former prolific ball-getter in Round 13.
After finishing the 2020 season with its first wooden spoon, Crows chief executive officer, Andrew Fagan, said the club understood the fixture reflected that.
"After finishing bottom last year, we acknowledge the fixture is reflective of your on-field performances and impacts your chances of being given marquee timeslots and your requests granted," he said.
The AFL unveiled the fixture time and dates for rounds 1-6 of the 2021 AFL premiership season, and while it also released the match-ups for the remaining minor rounds, no timeslots have been locked in.
The AFL said it would not lock in times and dates until the season begins, as it continues to monitor the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Fagan said that meant Adelaide had the opportunity and added motivation to perform well in the early rounds to influence how the remainder of its schedule could pan out.
The AFL released the fixture for the first six rounds of the 2021 season, with the Crows to host 2020 grand finalists Geelong in Round 1, before heading to the Sydney Cricket Ground to take on the Swans in Round Two.
"It's obviously a different fixture with clarity given only for the first six rounds but we are thrilled to kick off the season in front of our members and fans," Fagan said.
"We now have the chance to exceed expectations, as well as play a brand of football that makes our members and fans proud, and hopefully be rewarded."
The Crows will play Port Adelaide, West Coast, Melbourne, Hawthorn and North Melbourne twice, with the all-important Showdowns to be played in Round 8 (away) and Round 21 (home).
Good Friday football will be played at Adelaide Oval, with the Crows to host Gold Coast (and play their former midfielder, Rory Atkins, who left for the Suns via free agency in Round 3 on Good Friday, April 2 and new recruit Jackson Hately could face his former side, Greater Western Sydney, in Round 7 at Adelaide Oval.
There is a single trip to Perth with other road trips to Sydney, Hobart and Cairns.
Adelaide's mid-season bye is in Round 14.
"We will host Indigenous Round, which is always a priority request we put forward to the League, and to have a big club like Collingwood part of it is a bonus," Fagan said.
"To be able to have our last game of the Home And Away season at Adelaide Oval and continue the tradition of making it our annual members appreciation round is a good result too."
Originally published as Showdowns: Port, Crows to clash twice in 2021