Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley has apologised to fans after bungling a decision to play captain Connor Rozee in last night’s Showdown defeat to the Adelaide Crows. 

Port’s skipper was declared fit to face the Crows despite being substituted last week with a hamstring concern, with scans showing some damage.

But Rozee was unable to finish the match, being substituted at three quarter-time of Adelaide’s 12.6 (78) to 5.18 (48) win.

He now faces a stint on the sidelines and will miss the Power’s trip to Geelong next week.

“I apologise to our supporters for the decision that was made,” Hinkley said.

“The decision was made collectively but I am in charge.

“And I set Connor up to fail as a player by the way he had to perform out there.

“After half-time he couldn’t get to top speed and he was reluctant to kick.

“I made a mistake playing Connor Rozee … that was clear, it was obvious.

“I can try and hide behind it but I am not a coward when it comes to owning a mistake and that was what it was.”

Adelaide’s Izak Rankine kicked three goals in a 30-point win over arch-rivals Port Adelaide.

Crows veteran Taylor Walker dedicated the win to retiring club legend Rory Sloane, who called time on his career during the week and was celebrated by fans throughout Thursday night at Adelaide Oval.

“I might get a bit emotional here. Yeah, I love him, and his beautiful family,” Walker said to Channel Seven after the match.

“Tonight we had to play without him. It’s sad. I think he made the right decision for life after footy. He has a beautiful family.

“What he’s been able to do in those 255 game, not just the Crows fans but the footy world have been so lucky to see a beautiful man play football in the right spirit.

“A great win for a great man.”

Rankine also set up two other goals in the Crows’ 12.6 (78) to 5.18 (48) win as Rozee again failed to finish because of a hamstring concern.

Port’s injury concerns extend beyond Rozee, with Mitch Georgiades and Lachie Jones appearing to suffer leg injuries in a loss that leaves Port with a 5-3 win-loss record.

The Crows move to 3-5 and hold overall boasting rights over Port: in 55 games between the SA rivals, Adelaide now have a 28-27 edge.

Adelaide led the entire game as midfielder Jake Soligo continued his rich form with 27 disposals.

Taylor Walker celebrates a goal in Adelaide’s Showdown win.(Getty Images: Sarah Reed)

Fellow on-ballers Matt Crouch (28 touches), Jordan Dawson (24) and Rory Laird (26) were busy and Darcy Fogarty (two goals) was a standout in attack.

Walker also booted two goals while Mark Keane and Josh Worrell were superb in defence.

Port vice-captain Zak Butters gathered a game-high 33 disposals and Miles Bergman (20 touches) and Brownlow medallist Ollie Wines (22) battled gamely.

Jason Horne-Francis (two goals) was damaging in spurts and Dan Houston (20 possessions) was accomplished at half-back.

Look back at how the action unfolded in our live blog.

Key events

Adelaide vs Port Adelaide live

That’s it for the blog tonight

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To the Showdown victors belong the Showdown spoils, and so they shall head to the Crows tonight. They got up for their retiring champion tonight and put on a show for fans who are now believing something can be made from season 2024 after all.

I will be back tomorrow night for another enormous game as Carlton and Collingwood meet at the MCG. My word, is that going to be a big one. Hope to see you then!

Taylor Walker on winning for Rory

The tears were welling up for Taylor Walker when he spoke to Channel 7 about his mate Rory Sloane, and how desperate he was for the Crows to win tonight for him.

“I might get a bit emotional here. Yeah, I love him, and his beautiful family.

“Tonight we had to play without him. It’s sad. I think he made the right decision for life after footy. He has a beautiful family.

“What he’s been able to do in those 255 game, not just the Crows fans but the footy world have been so lucky to see a beautiful man play football in the right spirit.

“A great win for a great man.”

Key Event

Jake Soligo is the Showdown medallist

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This young bloke is a serious footballer, and his move to a position of midfield prominance has a lot to do with Adelaide’s improved form. He is quick, he is clean and he is ruthless in the contest. He is everything the Crows needed in a prime midfielder and he has just put Port Adelaide to the sword.

Jake Soligo’s star is still rising.

Key Event

FT: Crows claim Showdown glory with 30-point win over Port

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It’s a magnificent win for Adelaide who deserve every bit of this five-goal triumph. They were comfortably the better and more clinical side, putting a disappointing Port to the sword all in the name of retiring great Rory Sloane.

For Port Adelaide, it’s a shocker. If the Power want to convince themselves and everyone else they are ready to make a finals impact they need to be able to turn up to a big Showdown and not completely go to water. They were lost down back without Aliir Aliir and without purpose and intent going forward. Once Adelaide begun to match them in the stoppages, there was no way back for Port.

The Crows are still believing. They’re coming from a long way back after a slow start to the season but who knows how much of a boost a Showdown win can give them. They looked a professional and dangerous side tonight at least.

Izak Rankine kicks one of the goals of the year!

It’s a special night for the Crows now, and Rankine has put the cherry on top! He picked up the ball on the wing with three Port players around him, but weighed up his options and fancied his chances.

He stepped inside one and broke the tackle of Houston, took a bounce, ran to 45 and slotted it on the run. Sensational footy.

Ben Keays has a goal! The Crows will win the Showdown!

They have outfought and outplayed Port Adelaide tonight and the Crows will relish Showdown glory.

Port haven’t been able to stop the flow of Crows out the back towards goal, and it’s happened again there. Keays gets on the end of it in the goalsquare and makes no mistake.

Josh Rachele might have just slammed the door shut!

Adelaide might be home! They have held on and held on as Port Adelaide missed their looks, and Rachele may have just struck the finishing blow.

It was a hopeful, aimless kick forward that Bergman looked to have covered. The bounce was cruel and fell straight into the lap of Sholl, who unselfishly handed off to Rachele in the goalsquare. It’s back to 20 points with 7:30 to play.

Another Travis Boak miss

Excellent work from the stoppage by Horne-Francis and Boak, but again the shot misses.

Port have now kicked 5.15. It ain’t going to win you many games.

Port Adelaide are right on top now

Jason Horne-Francis is playing as a deep forward and he is looking so dangerous. I won’t mention what BT just called him on the Channel 7 call, but Horne-Francis is looking like a game-breaker at the moment.

Challenge is being thrown down to the Crows. It’s a 15 point lead with 12 minutes left – defend it with your life.

Jason Horne-Francis kicks another! Port back in business

Horne-Francis won the free kick for in the back in a heated contested, and made no mistake with his set shot from 40m out.

It’s an even three-goal game with the best part of 15 minutes on the clock. Adelaide have been playing slowly in this quarter. There’s a long time left to be shutting it down already.

Key Event

Connor Rozee has been subbed out with an injury

We’re not sure if it’s actually last week’s hamstring or a new injury that is bothering him, but either way the Port skipper is done for the day. Jackson Mead is on.

Adelaide have also subbed out Dan Curtin, bringing on Brodie Smith in his stead.

The last quarter of the Showdown is under.

Key Event

3QT: Adelaide 23 points up at the last change in the Showdown

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The Crows could sense they were a goal or two away from breaking Port in that quarter, but they couldn’t quite put it away. That late Horne-Francis goal has kept the door ajar for Port.

But for the Power to pinch this one, they would have to enjoy a rapid and significant increase in form and overall quality. They’ve been poor tonight, sloppy and disorganised and innacurate. The Crows have been committed and clinical and that has been enough to hold a five-goal lead for most of that quarter.

It’s not over yet. Port Adelaide are well within reach. Can the Crows close it out?

Jason Horne-Francis kicks a critical goal for Port

That is Port Adelaide’s first goal for basically two full quarters, but somehow it is still now only a 23-point game. They are still in it, even if they aren’t playing like it.

Kane Farrell got on the move through the middle of the ground and his trusty left boot found JHF out the back. With thirty seconds on the clock, that is a hugely important goal for the Power.

Connor Rozee is back on the field

Very weird stuff. He’s been off for basically 13 minutes, just sitting on the bench and effectively sulking. He tried to do some run throughs and wasn’t moving well.

And now he’s back on the field. It’s all really strange. I know Port want their captain out there but given what we’re watching right now, they need fit players even more.

The post is Port’s worst enemy right now

First Charlie Dixon, now Travis Boak have struck the same left goalpost and let massive chances go begging.

Port Adelaide are creating enough now but aren’t taking chances and still look as vulnerable as ever the other way. Seven minutes to play in the third.

Connor Rozee is on the bench and unhappy

It looked as if he might have tweaked that hamstring again early in this quarter. He’s been off for a while and looks frustrated on the bench, but there is no sub vest yet and no ice on the hammy.

Certainly one we’re keeping an eye on. He hasn’t looked close to 100% all night to be honest.

Izak Rankine with a touch of class! Another Crows goal!

From the Eddie Betts Pocket, Izak Rankine pulls one out of his trick bag and sets Adelaide Oval alight.

The checkside off one step looks so easy for someone like Rankine, but there aren’t many in the game who can pull something off like that. The Crows are charging!

Taylor Walker kicks a quick one for Adelaide!

And less than a minute into the second quarter, Port’s woes deepen. The Crows took it out of the middle and forced a mismatch inside 50, allowing Walker to lead unopposed to the pocket.

It’s out to 25 points now.

Jake Soligo is having a big game

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Another one for the young Crow, who is very much enjoying a breakout year in 2024. If I was to draw up an All Australian squad right now I reckon he would be in it.

He has a game-high 17 disposals, eight contested possessions and two score involvements to half-time. Slick, tough and damaging.