Willie Rioli and Sam Powell-Pepper celebrate a goal during round 24, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

PORT Adelaide has locked in a third-place finish with a 31-point win over Richmond in its final match of the home and away season, booking a qualifying final date with Brisbane at its Gabba fortress in the process.

Fringe Port forward Francis Evans, who was a late addition to the Power's starting 22 after Todd Marshall was withdrawn due to hip soreness, kicked three goals in the 13.16 (94) to 8.15 (63) victory on Sunday at Adelaide Oval.

POWER v TIGERS Full match coverage and stats

The Power's victory over the Tigers sees them finish behind the second-placed Lions on percentage, and while the time and date of the 2v3 battle is yet to be determined, Brisbane will host. The other qualifying final is also now locked in, with ladder leaders Collingwood to host fourth-placed Melbourne.


Richmond, led by the mercurial Dustin Martin, produced a spirited performance but will finish 13th.

Martin's equal game-high 33 disposals included seven inside 50s and a goal. Teammate Shai Bolton scored two majors before leaving the field with a lower leg injury in the fourth quarter, while Thomson Dow (27 touches) and Jayden Short (26) were also prominent.


Port's young dynamic trio of Connor Rozee (33 disposals, one goal), Zak Butters (30) and Xavier Duursma (22 and one) were key in the Power winning the midfield battle

Dan Houston (27 disposals, nine marks and a goal) was influential off half-back, while Sam Powell-Pepper, Willie Rioli and Ollie Lord each chipped in with two goals.


Port led by 6.7 to 5.11 at half time with the Tigers' goalkicking inaccuracy preventing the visitors from cashing in on their territorial advantage; they registered 34 to 21 inside 50s for the half.

Those roles reversed in the third term as Port scored a wayward 2.6 from 18 inside 50s and the Tigers added 2.2 from seven entries.

Neither team could score a goal in the final term until Port's Powell-Pepper struck in the 15th minute, rapidly followed by Evans' mid-air soccer for his third which effectively sealed victory.

The kids are alright
Following the retirement of club stalwarts Jack Riewoldt and Trent Cotchin last week, the Tigers took the opportunity to blood two youngsters against the Power. James Trezise, who was picked up by the club in the 2023 mid-season rookie draft, and Tom Brown, 2017 pick No.17 and son of former Geelong player Paul, made an impact in their first senior game. Brown had 16 touches and took six marks, while Trezise had 17 disposals, five tackles and six intercepts. Sixth-gamer Sam Banks also kicked his debut goal, in a strong sign of things to come for Richmond.


Lord likely to come under MRO scrutiny
A moment of madness from Ollie Lord is likely to land the first-year forward in hot water. Lord's swinging hand connected with the jaw of Richmond's Tylar Young during a scuffle while play was stopped for a goal review, with Richmond subsequently awarded a free kick.


Top four locked and loaded
After a topsy-turvy home and away season, the top four spots on the ladder are now set in stone. The Power's win wasn't enough to make up the percentage required to displace Brisbane from second spot, but does mean they'll finish ahead of Melbourne, who will sit in fourth. While Port's third-place finish means it has the double-chance, they'll have to travel to the Gabba to play Brisbane on its home deck, while minor premier Collingwood and Melbourne will clash at the MCG. With the finals fixture yet to be revealed, the first week of September action is taking shape.


PORT ADELAIDE     4.3    6.7       8.13    13.16 (94)
RICHMOND             3.4    5.11     7.13     8.15 (63)

Port Adelaide: Evans 3, Lord 2, Powell-Pepper 2, W. Rioli 2, Houston, Byrne-Jones, Duursma, Rozee
Richmond: Bolton 2, Graham, Bauer, Soldo, D.Rioli, Banks, Martin

Port Adelaide: Rozee, Butters, Duursma, Houston, Drew
Richmond: Martin, Short, Dow, Nankervis, Bolton

Port Adelaide: Nil
Richmond: M. Rioli jnr (hamstring), Bolton (TBC)

Port Adelaide: Dylan Williams replaced Sam Hayes in the third quarter
Richmond: Rhyan Mansell replaced Maurice Rioli jnr in the third quarter

Crowd: 39,860 at the Adelaide Oval