ADELAIDE has withstood a stirring Port Adelaide fightback to move to the top of the ladder and prevail in a Showdown epic.

The 42nd edition of the South Australian rivalry lived up to its billing with the Crows hanging on to win 15.10 (100) to 12.11 (83) in front of a record crowd of 53,698 on Saturday night.

It was the biggest crowd for a Showdown and for an AFL game at Adelaide Oval.

Full match coverage and stats

Crows star Rory Sloane was absolutely everywhere and won the Showdown Medal, while skipper Taylor Walker booted a game-high four goals, including a 65m bomb deep in the last quarter to seal his side's 3-0 start to the season.

The Crows have won the past four Showdowns to square the ledger at 21-all with the Power, who were also unbeaten coming into the game.

"It was an arm wrestle all night and it probably wasn't until Tex kicked that goal, the long goal, that you sort of felt it was going to be a bridge too far," Crows coach Don Pyke said.

"It was a tough contest, you expect that in Showdowns and that's what we got.

"I'm just proud of how our guys hung in and were nice and calm and were able to get the result."

Port charged out of the gates to kick the first three goals before Adelaide booted 10 of the next 13, including six in a row between the second and third quarters.

"I think that's the hottest first quarter I've played in, in a Showdown," Sloane said, after he racked up 24 contested possessions and 31 overall, nine tackles and eight clearances for the match.

"Normally it lasts about a 10-minute period when there is really solid heat on the ball, but it seemed to last the whole quarter.

"Our contest work was really good, but our composure was tested out with Port's pressure."

The Power looked down and out when they trailed by 27 points at the 18-minute mark of the third quarter.

But they refused to go away, Chad Wingard's goal early in the last term and a behind from Sam Gray reducing the gap to one straight kick.

Five talking points: Port Adelaide v Adelaide

Walker answered the call with a goal from 51m, after a score review found Justin Westhoff didn't get a hand on the ball on the goal-line.

Tom Lynch looked to have finally put the game to rest, but a goal to Sam Powell-Pepper ensured a nervous final 10 minutes.

"They (the Crows) were a bit cleaner when they needed to be, a bit tougher when they needed to be and we didn't quite match them in some crucial moments," Power coach Ken Hinkley said.

"They probably got 10 points too many from their good play and we weren't able to hurt them going the other way.

"We learnt that we stuck to what we were trying to do and we weren't able to get over the line."

The frenetic opening was what expected from one of the most anticipated contests in the 20-year history between the cross-town rivals.

It took 10 minutes for the first goal - Charlie Dixon crunching Kyle Hartigan to jolt the ball free before finding Robbie Gray, who ran untouched into the goal square.

Having conceded 18 Inside 50s to 12, the Crows were lucky to be only eight points down at quarter-time.

SHOWREEL: Tex answers captain's call in Showdown

The Crows turned the screws in the second term to take a nine-point lead into the half-time break – 7.9 (51) to 6.6 (42) courtesy of having 33 more possessions (104 to 71).

Crows forward Mitch McGovern left the ground mid-way through the fourth quarter with a suspected hamstring injury.

Power ruckman Patrick Ryder faces a nervous wait after he was reported for an off-the-ball hit on Crows forward Riley Knight in the last quarter. 

Port Adelaide: Power forward Aaron Young copped a knock to his shoulder after a heavy tackle, but played out the game.

Adelaide: Crows forward Mitch McGovern looks set to face a stint on the sidelines after coming off the ground in the last quarter with a hamstring injury.

The Power travels to Canberra to face Greater Western Sydney at UNSW Oval on Saturday at 4.35pm AEST. Meanwhile, the Crows host Essendon at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night at 7.10pm ACST.

Travis Boak and Riley Knight get personal on Saturday night. Picture: AFL Photos

PORT ADELAIDE   4.6   6.6   9.8    12.11 (83)
ADELAIDE             3.3   7.9  11.10   15.10 (100)

Port Adelaide: Wines 2, Wingard 2, R.Gray 2, Westhoff, Impey, Dixon, Boak, Eddy, Powell-Pepper
Adelaide: Walker 4, Betts 3, Otten 2, Knight 2, Lynch 2, Mackay, Sloane,

Port Adelaide: Wines, Ryder, Ebert, Byrne-Jones, Hartlett, Boak
Adelaide: Sloane, Douglas, Walker, Otten, Laird, Lynch, Knight

Port Adelaide: Nil
Adelaide: McGovern (hamstring)

 Paddy Ryder (Port Adelaide) reported for striking Adelaide's Riley Knight in the fourth quarter

Dagleigh, Meredith, Williamson

Official crowd: