Jason Horne-Francis and Ryan Burton celebrate during Port Adelaide's match against Brisbane in R1, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

PRIZE recruit Jason Horne-Francis led Port Adelaide's remarkable second-half turnaround on his club debut as the Power smashed Brisbane by 54 points at Adelaide Oval on Saturday.

Port piled on eight goals to one in a dominant third term after trailing by 18 points late in the first half, with 2021 No.1 pick Horne-Francis, who joined Port from North Melbourne in the off-season, dominating with 10 disposals including three clearances and five inside 50s for the quarter.

POWER v LIONS Full match coverage and stats

Horne-Francis was well supported by Port's next generation of talent with Zak Butters (23 disposals and seven score involvements) and Connor Rozee (23 disposals including 10 score involvements and six tackles) outstanding as Port won 18.18 (126) to 11.6 (72).

Brownlow medalist Ollie Wines accumulated a game-high 29 disposals, but Horne-Francis arguably made the most telling impact with a game-high 10 inside 50s, joint game-high four centre clearances and 11 score involvements, behind only Charlie Dixon (12).


Port kicked 13.9 to 3.3 after half-time, dominating the second half with 205-110 disposals (405-263 for the game), 37-15 inside 50s (65-40) and 71-44 contested possessions (150-117).

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Chris Fagan's decision to select a shorter backline appeared to backfire, with Port taking 24-6 marks inside 50 with their tall forwards among the goals.


Sharp-shooter Todd Marshall starred up forward with four goals while Junior Rioli, Lachie Jones and Dixon all grabbed three each for Port, while Jack Gunston and Zac Bailey got two apiece for Brisbane.

Lions half-back Daniel Rich had 26 touches with a game-high 1,010 metres gained but he was a lone hand in a disappointing display from last season's preliminary finalists.

Jason Horne-Francis and Will Ashcroft during Port Adelaide's match against Brisbane in R1, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Brisbane booted seven of eight goals to open up their three-goal buffer after Port failed to capitalise on their first-quarter domination, but Charlie Dixon's major on the half-time siren kept the Power in touch.

The Lions appeared to be coasting to victory in a lopsided second term where Dixon gifted Rich a goal with a 100m penalty for apparent dissent, while 2022 No.2 pick Will Ashcroft got his first AFL goal from his third disposal.


The Power flipped the script after half-time, with Brisbane not helped by Joe Daniher and Darcy Wilmot spurning gilt-edged opportunities inside 50, but Port's ferocity around the contest was the major change.

From Dixon's goal late in the second, Port booted eight goals in a row in a massive momentum swing. Horne-Francis capped the term by tackling Hugh McCluggage, who went without a disposal in the quarter, for holding the ball, before finding an open Dixon who kicked truly.

The one-way traffic of the third quarter continued into the last, with goals inside the first eight minutes from Dixon, Wines and Rozee putting the game beyond Brisbane's reach.


Rioli shines on Power debut
Junior Rioli was Port's other big off-season addition alongside Horne-Francis and he was a key player in the first half, with two goals, 10 disposals and six score involvements. Rioli also pulled off a dubious hanger over Harris Andrews, with the ball clearly not being controlled and hitting the ground yet the umpire paid the mark. He went on to sell some candy to Jarryd Berry, skipping past and slotting his second goal. The ex-West Coast livewire has the potential to be a big fan favourite at his new club.


Score review issues pop up again
Port's third-quarter run was aided by a clumsy score review, where Lachie Jones was awarded a goal when his close-range toe poke appeared to come off Harris Andrews' thigh. The goal umpire's original decision was a goal and the ARC decided there was insufficient evidence to overturn, but it seemed the most conclusive angle hadn't been utilised during the review and was only shown after the final decision was made.

Lachie Jones celebrates during Port Adelaide's match against Brisbane in R1, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Mixed fortunes for Lions newcomers
Brisbane has been billed as one of the main premiership contenders this season, helped by the acquisitions of Josh Dunkley, Gunston, Ashcroft and Conor McKenna in the off-season. Dunkley was the Lions' best at the coalface, with a game-high 14 contested possessions, while Gunston had limited supply, finishing with two goals from nine touches. Ashcroft started slow but worked his way into the game with a classy goal to finish with 13 disposals. Irishman McKenna was impressive on his return to the AFL, with 20 touches and a long-range goal.


PORT ADELAIDE    3.5    5.9    13.13    18.18 (126)
BRISBANE             2.1     8.3     9.5       11.6 (72) 

Port Adelaide: Marshall 4, Rioli 3, Dixon 3, Jones 3, Horne-Francis, Georgiades, Powell-Pepper, Wines, Rozee
Brisbane: Bailey 2, Gunston 2, McInerney, Daniher, Rich, Hipwood, Ashcroft, McKenna, McCarthy

Port Adelaide: Horne-Francis, Rozee, Rioli, Butters, Wines, Marshall, Aliir
Brisbane Lions: Rich, Dunkley, Rayner, McKenna

Port Adelaide: None 
Brisbane Lions: Coleman (head)

Port Adelaide: Francis Evans (replaced Orazio Fantasia at three quarter-time)
Brisbane Lions: Jaxon Prior (replaced James Tunstill in the fourth quarter)

Crowd: 34,255