Ken Hinkley reckons it’s ironic. And weird.
Hinkley’s Port Adelaide remain winless this AFL season because of a player his club desperately tried to recruit, Jordan Dawson.
South Australian-born Dawson, after leaving the Sydney Swans, was subject of an intense bidding war during the off-season between Port and their arch foes, Adelaide.
He picked Adelaide.
And in his first game against Port, Dawson kicks a match-winning goal after the siren.
“It was ironic. Remarkable. Weird,” Hinkley said.
“All the things that you would expect to say because Jordan, obviously both clubs were trying to get him to come to their club in the off-season.
“And he showed why. He’s a very good player.”
Dawson’s post-siren kick, from about 35 metres out on a tight angle, instantly entered the folklore of Showdowns, the moniker given to the duels between SA’s bitter rivals.
His left-footer appeared destined for a point.
Then, as Crows coach Matthew Nicks said, the “footy gods looked after us”.
The ball dipped left, through for a goal, and Adelaide won by four points.
“I wouldn’t say it was the best kick I have ever done,” Dawson said.
“It came back late, which was nice.
“It wasn’t going through my head to do that … that is just how it came off.”
The footy wasn’t even initially Dawson’s to kick.
His teammate Lachlan Murphy, in his comeback game after neck surgery, was crunched in a tackle from Port’s Sam Mayes when not in possession of the ball and given a free.
As Murphy clutched the back of his neck while medicos helped him off the field, Dawson was given the ball for his clutch kick.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Dawson said.
“Growing up, I loved watching the Showdowns and the extra bit of heat in the contest.
“You feel the rivalry out there … you could sense just the intensity of both teams and the angst.
“And to kick the goal after the siren, it’s probably what you dream of as a young fella.”
As Dawson lined up, both Hinkley and Nicks had wry – if somewhat disbelieving – smiles: a Showdown had again delivered the highest sporting theatre.
“You just know what Showdowns do,” Hinkley said.
“And you just think how can they keep delivering and ending up in these epics.
“There has been a miraculous amount of close games … the stories just keep getting written. But it doesn’t make me feel any better.”
The foes have faced off 51 times. Port have 26 wins, Adelaide 25.
Adelaide’s boss Nicks served as an assistant coach to Hinkley at Port for eight seasons from 2011.
“I have been blessed to have seen it from both sides,” Nicks said of the Showdowns.
“The majority of people in this state enjoy their footy and they’re on one side or the other. And for good reason.
“Because back when the licence came up, there was a fair bit going on.”
Nicks’ comment referred to Port secretly going behind the backs of other SA clubs to try and enter the AFL in 1990.
Other SA clubs blocked Port in court. Instead, the Crows were formed … but that’s another story of another Showdown.