"The members are informed that the opening football practice will commence at 3pm on Saturday, the 14th (of May, 1870) on the grounds adjoining Captain Hart's."

The colours of the day were blue and white. Today, this combination belongs to the rival of the moment, North Melbourne - a club that found its feet a year earlier than Port Adelaide.

This time, 152 years later, the fun begins at 1.40pm (South Australian time) at a place far away from the starting point at Buck's Flat at Glanville. The original shirts seen on Captain John Hart's front lawn -  one set blue, the other white - have made way for many other colours to be black, white, teal and silver on the national stage.

Port Adelaide has passed through many leagues in 152 years. It was at the table as a foundation club to form the SA Football Association in 1877, the SA Football League, the SA Patriotic League during World War I, the SANFL and now the AFL.

Many colours, many leagues, many teams - but one Port Adelaide Football Club. Since 1870. To this day ...

As proud as Port Adelaide is of its past - and confident of its future - the theme of the day (even on the anniversary of the club's significant first moments on the football field) are about the present. It is the unexpected script Port Adelaide wrote for itself with a 0-5 start to the home-and-away series.

"We live in the moment - the now," says Port Adelaide senior coach Ken Hinkley. "And when you make a 0-5 start, you do need to keep the focus on the short-term. Take on the next day, the next opportunity to do something about it. We have done that really well."

Ken Hinkley addresses the playing group in Round 8. Image: AFL Photos.


Port Adelaide is looking to extend the streak to four and get closer to parity with the win-loss column after a 0-5 start.

North Melbourne is craving some respite after a tough week in the headlines, be it the optics from senior coach David Noble apologising for his review of the team's 108-point thrashing from Brisbane in round 3 ... or news that No. 1 draftee, South Australian Jason Horne-Francis, has put on hold signing a contract extension at Arden Street.

Port Adelaide wants to deal with its poor starts as noted with the record of leading at quarter-time in just two of eight matches this season (against Adelaide in round 3 and the Western Bulldogs last Friday).

North Melbourne has so much on its agenda, in particular with defence and at the contest. By the statistics, North Melbourne averages 57 fewer disposals than its opponents - and it watches the opposition go inside the forward-50 zone 16 times more often than itself.

Port Adelaide has to keep winning.

North Melbourne just has to win.

Dan Houston in action in Port Adelaide's last encounter with North Melbourne in Round 1, 2021. Image: AFL Photos.

"We can't afford to take our eye off the ball, regardless of who and when we play," Hinkley said. "We have to make sure we are at our best  - and that brings the confidence we can win against any team in the competition ... just as any team can beat us if we are off."

And Port Adelaide has some work to do on the win-loss ledger - not just the current AFL ladder but the historical count against North Melbourne. From the start of the AFL rivalry in 1997, North Melbourne won the first nine games against Port Adelaide. Tables have turned recently with Port Adelaide having won seven of the past eight encounters to have the win-loss marker at 15-22 today.


North Melbourne is 1-7, with the lone win (by 15 points) in round 2 at the MCG against a West Coast team that was wrecked by COVID protocols that forced the call up of "top-up" players from the WAFL competition.

While scoring has been an issue for North Melbourne - that has managed an average score of just less than 10 goals (59 points) this season - the team has been accurate for its 70.55. It has not broken the watershed 100-point barrier this season with 75 points (against Sydney in round 4 at the SCG) being the team's highest score so far.

North Melbourne's defence has bled hard by conceding an average 107 points this season - and more than 100 points in each of its past five matches. The pressure on the North Melbourne defenders Josh Walker, Luke McDonald and Aidan Corr - and the team's defensive systems - will come from dealing with Port Adelaide's three-tall combination that has had Todd Marshall, Jeremy Finlayson and Mitch Georgiades kick 17 goals in the past three games.

Port Adelaide's talls of Todd Marshall, Jeremy Finlayson and Mitch Georgiades will look to continue their dominant form in Round 9. Image: AFL Photos.

North Melbourne will be without the much-watched No. 1 draftee Horne-Francis who is managing hamstring soreness. But it does regain another South Australian who made an impression during his debut season last year, Tom Powell. His work at clearances in the VFL during the past fortnight suggest he is ready for an eager rivalry with former SANFL opponent Connor Rozee and Zak Butters.

An attack that is not scoring enough, a defence that is under constant bombardment and a midfield that needs to win more contests. There is also a coach under pressure with questions on his gameplan - and the players' understanding of his playbook. It tells of a North Melbourne team that is amid the second year of a serious rebuild and has hit the inevitable bump in the road back to consistent competitiveness.


North Melbourne coach David Noble knows the Port Adelaide story very well. He lived it as a Glenelg senior coach in the SANFL. He felt it in the AFL as a key administrator and football staffer at the Adelaide Football Club and at Brisbane.

Now, he deals with it from a chair Noble has cherished for a long time - coaching an AFL team from his home city of Hobart where he was premiership player at North Hobart in 1987 and 1989 before being drafted to the AFL by Fitzroy.

Noble's scouting notes of Port Adelaide say, in his words: "They've gone to work on how they move the ball; that has been noticeable over the past two to three weeks.

"Port Adelaide's high half-forwards and their midfielders play with a lot of speed. They generate great speed out of contests."

Port Adelaide will be looking to use their speed around the contest to control the midfield battle. Image: AFL Photos.


Port Adelaide returns to Bellerive Oval for the first time since 2013 - and just the second time for AFL action. Last time, senior coach Ken Hinkley - who was in his first season at Port Adelaide - was too ill to travel. This time it is captain Tom Jonas who has been forced to stay at home by the COVID protocols.

Hinkley's presence this time makes him the first Port Adelaide coach to lead the senior team to an AFL home-and-away match in every Australian capital, State or territory.

Port Adelaide is playing in Tasmania for the first time May 25, 2019 when it lost to Hawthorn at York Park in Launceston. Overall, Port Adelaide has a 5-6 win-loss record in AFL matches in Tasmania.


"I like to back my own ability."

Four-game Port Adelaide lead ruckman Sam Hayes who faces 281-game Todd Goldstein, a 15-season player with a career average of 32 hit-outs.


(the little stuff that matters)

Where: Bellerive Oval, Hobart

When: Saturday, May 14

Time: 1.40pm SA time

Last time: Port Adelaide 17.15 (117) d  North Melbourne 9.11 (65) in round 1, March 21 last year

Overall: Port Adelaide 15, North Melbourne 22

Past five games (most recent first): W W L W W

Scoring average: Port Adelaide 93 points, North Melbourne 94

Tightest winning margin - Port Adelaide by two points (95-93) at Football Park in round 8, May 19, 2012; North Melbourne by two points (76-74) at Football Park in round 15, July 12, 2008.

Biggest winning margin - Port Adelaide by 87 points twice, (164-77) at the Docklands in the 2005 elimination final; (133-87) at Football Park in the 2007 preliminary final; North Melbourne by 92 points (140-48) at the Docklands in round 8, May 16, 2004.

By venues - Adelaide Oval (2-0), Football Park (6-6), MCG (1-2), Docklands (5-7), Princes Park, Carlton (0-2), SCG (0-1), Manuka Oval, Canberra (0-3), Bellerive Oval, Hobart (0-1).

By States and territories - South Australia (8-6), Victoria (6-11), Queensland (1-0), New South Wales (0-1), Tasmania (0-1), Australian Capital Territory (0-3).