The Brisbane Lions and Port Adelaide have developed a fierce rivalry over the past 17 seasons – built on both circumstance and some memorable on-field moments.
Port Adelaide’s entry into the AFL only eventuated following the historic 1996 merger between existing clubs Fitzroy and the Brisbane Bears.
And so it was that the newly-merged Brisbane Lions and Port Adelaide Power would be formally introduced into the AFL competition in 1997.
Since then, both sides have enjoyed incredible success – particularly in the early 2000s when they were among the legitimate powerhouses of the AFL.
Ahead of Sunday’s big clash, lions.com.au and portadelaidefc.com.au take a look back at some of the classic matches that have built this great rivalry over a short period of time.
Round 5, 1997: Port Adelaide 73 def Brisbane Lions 71
The first ever meeting between the two sides set the tone for what would be an intense, bitter rivalry for years to come.
But it was the AFL’s ‘new kids on the block’ Port Adelaide who struck first blood in a tight encounter at Football Park.
Scott Cummings proved the difference up forward with five goals, while Marcus Ashcroft and Craig Lambert were the best for the Lions.
The win was Port’s third in a row, and catapulted them into the top eight for the first time in their five-week history.
Round 20, 1997: Brisbane Lions 93 drew Port Adelaide 93
The return encounter resulted in a draw, with the Lions coming from five goals behind at half time to snatch a draw.
The Lions clawed their back courtesy of an eight-goal third term, before a frenetic final quarter resulted in the first ever draw between the two teams.
Justin Leppitsch did most of the damage up forward with four goals, while Daniel Bradshaw chimed in with three in just his 13th AFL game.
Those two premiership points ended up being enough to secure the Lions a September berth, with only percentage separating them from Port Adelaide, who finished ninth.
Round 12, 1998: Brisbane Lions 123 drew Port Adelaide 123
In Roger Merrett’s first match as caretaker coach, the Lions managed to secure a second straight draw against Port Adelaide at the Gabba thanks to a clutch goal from Shaun Hart – his third for the afternoon.
The Lions had won just two of their 11 matches heading into the Port match, and managed just three more as they went on to claim the wooden spoon.
Remarkably, the first three encounters between the two sides had resulted in two draws and a two-point thriller
Round 18, 1999: Port Adelaide 66 lost to Brisbane Lions 118
It might have taken them more than two years and five attempts, but the Lions defeated Port Adelaide for the first time in Round 18 of 1999 at Football Park.
Marcus Ashcroft (29 disposals), Michael Voss (28 disposals), Chris Scott (28 Disposals) and Jason Akermanis (27 disposals) were pivotal in the Club’s fourth consecutive victory.
The Lions would go on to win 10 straight games, before falling to North Melbourne in the Preliminary Final.
Round 1, 2001: Port Adelaide 99 def Brisbane Lions 93
Damian Cupido booted four goals for the visitors, while Marcus Ashcroft was the Lions’ leading possession-getter with 24.
Qualifying Final, 2001 Brisbane 88, Port Adelaide 56
The Lions and Port Adelaide set up a tantalising Qualifying Final at the Gabba after finishing second and third respectively on the ladder at the end of the home-and-away season.
The Lions had notched up their 13th straight win the previous week and approached the game full of confidence, but trailed by 16 points at the main break after managing just three first half goals.
But the Lions kept the Power to just one goal in the second, and booted nine themselves, to run out comfortable 32-point winners and book themselves a spot in the Preliminary Final.
An incident involving Alastair Lynch and Darryl Wakelin would cost the Lions full-forward a one-match suspension. But fortunately he would return after the Preliminary Final to take part in the Club’s first AFL premiership as a merged entity.
Round 22, 2002: Port Adelaide 90 def Brisbane Lions 84
Playing off for the minor premiership in front of a crowd of 46,439 at AAMI stadium, the two sides produced one of the greatest matches of the modern era.
With top spot holding extra importance (the rules at the time stated one final must be held at the MCG each week), both teams fought hard with Simon Black (32 disposals) and Michael Voss (29 disposals) leading the way for the visitors.
But it was Power midfielder Roger James who proved the hero with 31 possessions and two goals, including the match-winner in the dying moments.
Black’s two Brownlow Medal votes from this particular match also secured him the competition’s highest individual honour.
Preliminary Final, 2002: Brisbane Lions 138 def Port Adelaide 82
Collingwood’s upset win over Port Adelaide in the Qualifying Final meant the Power ultimately had to travel to Brisbane to face the Lions in the Preliminary Final.
And despite a lively start from the visitors, the reigning premiers took control in the second half and eventually prevailed by 56 points on their way to back-to-back flags.
Des Headland was the match-winner with 33 disposals and three goals, in what turned out to be his second last match in Lions colours.
Alastair Lynch booted a game-high five, while Nigel Lappin and Simon Black were prominent in the midfield.
Round 2, 2003: Port Adelaide 76 lost to Brisbane Lions 86
The Power were determined to make amends for their disappointing 2002 Finals campaign against the reigning premiers, and came out firing in the first term.
But the Lions absorbed the pressure and responded with a seven goal second quarter, which proved the main difference in their narrow 10-point win.
Nigel Lappin was the star at AAMI Stadium with a game-high 30 disposals.
Round 17, 2003: Brisbane Lions 103 lost to Port Adelaide 104
Port Adelaide finally got the revenge they were after in a nail-biter at the Gabba where the margin was never more than five points at any of the breaks.
Roger James was once again a thorn in the Lions’ side, kicking the winning point from deep in the pocket in the final moments of the game.
The win gave Port a one game buffer at the top of the AFL ladder, while the Lions’ third loss in four games saw them slip to sixth position.
Grand Final, 2004: Port Adelaide 113 def Brisbane Lions 73
The Brisbane Lions headed into the 2004 AFL Grand Final looking to claim their fourth straight premiership, but had to do it the hard way after being forced to host their ‘home’ Preliminary Final in Melbourne.
Port Adelaide, meanwhile, were hell bent on erasing the painful memories of the past three years, by claiming their maiden flag.
In a somewhat spiteful clash, which later saw Alastair Lynch, Simon Black and Jonathan Brown suspended by the AFL Tribunal, the Power controlled the match early before the Lions returned fire to take a narrow lead at half time.
But the Lions’ weary bodies were eventually overrun by Port Adelaide, who broke the game open in the final quarter to win by 40 points and bring an end to the Lions’ era of immortality.
Round 2, 2005: Port Adelaide 75 def Brisbane Lions 73
The Lions’ hopes of avenging their Grand Final loss looked slim with Port Adelaide holding a 27-point advantage at the final break, before storming home with six final quarter goals.
But unfortunately the Lions had left their run a little too late, and were left ruing another close loss to their Grand Final foes.
Round 8, 2006: Port Adelaide 78 lost to Brisbane Lions 147
With the premiership dynasty of both teams well and truly over, the 14th placed Lions headed to AAMI Stadium to take on the 15th placed Power.
And after a tight opening, the Lions flexed their muscle with a 15-goal second half to set up a 69-point victory – one of the team’s biggest ever interstate wins.
There was simply no stopping Jonathan Brown and Daniel Bradshaw up forward, who had a day out and combined for 13 of the team’s 22 goals.
Round 4, 2008: Port Adelaide 104 lost to Brisbane Lions 124
In torrential conditions at AAMI Stadium, Port Adelaide led by as much as 47 points deep into the third quarter and seemed headed for a comfortable victory…or so it seemed.
Spurred on by Simon Black in the midfield and Daniel Bradshaw up forward, the Lions piled on nine goals to one in the final term to claim an unlikely 20-point win.
The 67-point turnaround was the largest by a team playing interstate since the competition went national in 1987 and the seventh on the all-time list.
Black finished with 32 touches, while Bradshaw booted a team-high five goals.
Round 21, 2009: Brisbane Lions 107 def Port Adelaide 92
The Gabba crowd were left stunned as Port Adelaide piled on 10 straight goals in the first quarter to lead by 40 points at the first break.
But the Lions refused to panic, and instead chipped away at the lead for the remaining three quarters.
The Lions hit the lead for the first time midway through the first quarter, and went on with the job to record another remarkable come-from-behind win.
Daniel Bradshaw once again gave the Power plenty of headaches with a match-winning five-goal haul.
The win all but assured the Lions of their first visit to the AFL Finals since that 2004 Grand Final loss.
Round 15, 2011: Brisbane Lions 99 def Port Adelaide 88
Another arm-wrestle saw numerous lead changes throughout, with Port Adelaide holding a one-point advantage heading into the final term.
But the Lions kicked the only two goals of the fourth quarter to arrest the lead back and claim an 11-point victory.
Tom Rockliff was the star with 31 touches, while Jonathan Brown bagged four goals.
Round 22, 2012: Port Adelaide 93 lost to Brisbane Lions 104
In the most recent encounter between the two teams, Port Adelaide led by 14 points at the last break and seemed to have the momentum.
But a great team defensive effort saw the Lions concede just one behind in the last quarter and kick away to an 11-point win.
Andrew Raines was one of the Lions’ best in his 100th AFL game, while Jonathan