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Power, Crows come together to pay tribute to Phil Walsh

Showdown tribute for Phil Walsh Power, Crows pay their respects to the late Phil Walsh pre-game

THE SUN shone as Adelaide's football community gathered to offer Phil Walsh what Port Adelaide CEO Keith Thomas described as a "final salute" during Sunday's Showdown at Adelaide Oval. 

The memorial service at Adelaide Oval on Wednesday was more celebratory than mournful, and the build-up to Sunday's match followed a similar path.

The raw emotion of Walsh's death has faded slightly; Showdown XXXIX was a chance to remember and honour a much-loved figure, rather than grieve his loss.

Adelaide fans joined their Port Adelaide brethren on the Power faithful's regular march from Rundle Mall to Adelaide Oval, reflecting the unification of the city's footballing tribes since Walsh was killed on July 3.

That sentiment, so prevalent among the fans, was reflected again when captains Travis Boak and Taylor Walker shook hands before leading their respective teams through a joint banner. 

Regardless of who wins this Showdown neither side's song will be played after the final siren, instead both teams will join the crowd in a minute's applause.

From the remarkable memorial that grew and grew at the Crows' West Lakes base to the 20,000 football fans who turned up at Adelaide Oval two Sundays ago to publicly grieve – the state's football tribes have come together like never before.

That brotherhood changed the face of Showdown 39 – in which the player judged best on ground will take home the Phillip Walsh Medal. Only time will tell how it affects future grudge matches.

And it may well be that the rivalry resumes normal service after this remarkable game.

Walsh's close friend, former Power football manager Rob Snowdon, told the near-1000 people at the memorial service on Wednesday that the late coach would have been embarrassed by the attention given to him in the fortnight since his death.

Snowdon urged players in attendance to move on and not to "dwell" on the loss of a great football man; he could have been addressing the state.

At the culmination of one of the most emotional and tumultuous fortnights in South Australian sporting history, Sunday's tributes are a fitting farewell to a man who impacted both clubs so heavily. 

Fans remember Phil Walsh before the Power v Crows clash at Adelaide Oval. Picture: AFL Media