PERHAPS Adam Simpson was right all along.
The West Coast coach described Port Adelaide as "probably the best 0-5 side in the history of the competition" during the week, and those words turned prophetic as the Power finally got off the mark in 2022 - demolishing the Eagles by 84 points.
All the signs of progress that emerged in Port's fightback against Carlton six days prior were on show again, as Ken Hinkley's side ran roughshod through the Eagles, with the 18.9.(117) to 4.9.(33) win breathing life into the Power's season and easing some of the pressure on its under-fire coach.
POWER v EAGLES Full match coverage and stats
When Port last stepped on to Adelaide Oval a fortnight ago against Melbourne, they couldn't buy a goal and had to wait until mid-way through the third-term to register their first major - but on this occasion, they were the ones dealing out a similar punishment.
After conceding the first goal to Jamie Cripps inside the opening minute, Port piled on 11 unanswered goals, with seven of those coming in the second-term to put the result beyond doubt, before piling on another seven unanswered in the final term to secure its first-ever Adelaide Oval win against the Eagles.
Once the Power extinguished the early-game sloppiness, they played with a confidence not seen since last season, as Connor Rozee (31 disposals, eight clearances), Travis Boak (34 disposals, nine clearances) and returning Brownlow medallist Ollie Wines (33 disposals) hit their straps.
Rozee, in particular, was nearly unplayable, quelling any early-season doubt surrounding his form and backing up his impressive performance last week by winning the Peter Badcoe medal for best afield.
Off-season recruit Jeremy Finlayson and fellow key-forward Todd Marshall made the most of the silver-service, booting five goals each, with the former gaining a much-needed jolt of confidence following a tough start to life in Alberton.
While it may be too early to start dreaming of a miraculous surge up the table and the proof of any turnaround will be evident in the weeks that follow, Port fans have at least something to cheer about after enduring its worst-ever start to a season - but it wasn't unblemished as Robbie Gray went down with a knee injury midway through the third term.
However, less can be said for the opposing supporter base as the Eagles slumped to 1-5 and their worst start to a season since 2010.
West Coast looked completely devoid of confidence and folded like a cheap suit once the Power gained some momentum in the second-term as they were unable to stop the tidal wave of goals throughout the second and third quarter.
Just like last week, Simpson's side couldn't buy a goal for much of the game and it took until the second-minute mark of the final term to slot a second major, the result delivering a hammer blow to an already meagre percentage and made worse by the loss of Elliot Yeo to concussion in the second-term.
Wines makes his much-needed return
If Port Adelaide is to turn around its dismal start to 2022, it needs all of its best hands on deck. On Saturday, there was no bigger inclusion than reigning Brownlow Medallist Ollie Wines - who was thrusted straight back into the side after a heart scare a fortnight ago. There was no sign of Ken Hinkley easing Wines back into action, who inserted the Power vice-captain into the first centre bounce. It looked like he hadn't missed a step throughout his absence as he fit in seamlessly to a Port midfield needing a serious jolt of energy. Wines bullied his way to 33 disposals in trademark style, with 13 of those contested to go with 640 metres gained which was the second-best of all Port players.
Oh, and there was another impressive return
While much of the fanfare surrounded the impressive return of Wines, his team-mate Kane Farrell also came back after almost ten months after a knee reconstruction. The Power small-forward didn’t impact the stats sheet in perhaps the same way Wines did, but he saved his best work for when he was around goal, reminding Port fans of his talents with an incredible goal during the second-quarter avalanche of goals. After intercepting Shannon Hurn’s kick deep inside the Power forward line, Farrell was hemmed right against the boundary and instead of opting to go the banana on his left-foot, the 23-year-old backed himself with a drop punt which went straight over the goal umpire’s hat with inch-perfect precision.
Witherden’s fine season continues
Alex Witherden's early season form may be one of the only bright sparks to emerge from what has been a disastrous start to the season for West Coast. The former Lion struggled to cement himself in the Eagles' best 22 last season, but has taken his game to another level throughout the opening six games, emerging as one of the only positives from a tough afternoon in Adelaide. Witherden was a constant as Power peppered West Coast's backline, accumulating 34 disposals (which was the equal best alongside Travis Boak), along with seven marks and a game high 710 metres gained.
PORT ADELAIDE 1.2 8.5 11.8 18.9 (117)
WEST COAST 1.2 1.4 1.8 4.9 (33)
Port Adelaide: Finlayson 5, Marshall 5, Georgiades, Gray, Farrell, Amon, Wines, Powell-Pepper, Houston, Motlop
West Coast: Cripps, Kennedy, Darling, Ryan
Port Adelaide: Rozee, Finlayson, Marshall, Wines, Boak, Houston, Amon, Drew
West Coast: Witherden, Kelly, Shuey
Port Adelaide: Aliir (ankle), Gray (knee)
West Coast: Yeo (concussion)
Port Adelaide: Miles Bergman (illness) replaced in selected side by Karl Amon
West Coast: nil
Port Adelaide: Lachie Jones, replaced Robbie Gray in the third quarter
West Coast: Zac Langdon, replaced Elliott Yeo in the second quarter