EVERY new Showdown cup, trophy or shield - dating to the first derby in 1997 - has been lifted in victory first by Port Adelaide. But captain Tom Jonas is not taking any comfort from history as a new Showdown Shield is unveiled for Showdown XLIX at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.
"If you look at the results there is no guarantees both in Showdowns or footy," Jonas said at Adelaide Oval on Tuesday after the new Showdown Shield was revealed. It features the iconic image of the Bond brothers, Shane and Troy, embracing after Showdown IV at Football Park late in Season 1998.
The Showdown Shield again carries the name of Variety, the children’s charity supporting the derby across the next three years.
"There is certainly something extra on the line every time you run out on Adelaide Oval against the Crows," Jonas said. "It shouldn't be an issue to find any motivation for the weekend.
"When you go through what it takes to win a Showdown, it is usually contested footy. We know it is going to be a fierce contest."
Since 2010, Port Adelaide has a 4-5 win-loss record on entering Showdowns after a defeat, reinforcing Jonas' point there is no guarantee of a correction in the derby.
"Both teams are coming off significant losses," said Jonas also referring to Adelaide's 67-point drubbing from Greater Western Sydney at Adelaide Oval on Saturday. "Playing your biggest arch-rival in front of a packed house, your home crowd, is going to be massive. I can't wait to get out there. I wish there was a shorter turnaround so we could play sooner.
"There is always a point to prove and when you are playing your crosstown rival you want to make sure you come away with a win."
Port Adelaide enters the 49th derby needing to respond after Saturday night's 49-point loss to Brisbane at the Gabba leaves major questions on the team's credibility in the AFL premiership race. There are also heavy labels - such as "flat-track bullies" to erase after the Brisbane loss becomes paired with the no-contest result against fellow 2020 top-eight finalist West Coast in Perth at Easter.
"They never sit well," Jonas responded. "But if you look at the body of work, we've played some consistent footy for a long time. We are 2-2 on the road (with wins against Carlton at the MCG and North Melbourne at the Docklands) so it certainly is not a disaster.
"It is really important we review that (Brisbane) game and look at where we can improve. And make sure, moving forward, we are ready to take on the opposition whether it is home or away when they bring a certain style of footy."
Jonas strongly defended All-Australian key forward Charlie Dixon who finished with 0.2 against Brisbane and has scored 10.8 this season in which he has gone without a goal in three of seven matches.
"Charlie certainly isn't measured by the amount of goals he has kicked," Jonas said. "His role in the team is much more significant than that.
"He is the leader of the forward line. It is about providing a contest and bringing the ball to ground. That is what he is measured by. It is the same as measuring my game by the amount of kicks I have - and it certainly is not measured by that.
"We have a dangerous small forward line (with Orazio Fantasia, Steven Motlop, Robbie Gray and Connor Rozee). Bringing the ball to the front gives them an opportunity to get involved in the game. And it also puts the opposition under pressure and gives an opportunity to set up our defence.
"Charlie has been playing his role most weeks and we all have down days. We have full confidence in Charlie for him to bounce back and the biggest thing in Charlie's game in the past couple of years is he comes out of himself and looks after the boys around him. He has been a great leader of our group and our forward line."
Port Adelaide's theme of extra depth and flexibility with its squad does open the door for a selection shake-up at Alberton, particularly after many players made their cases in the SANFL win against State league premier Woodville-West Torrens at Alberton Oval on Sunday.
"There certainly were some strong performances at SANFL level with blokes who have put their hands up," Jonas said. "I am sure (senior coach Ken Hinkley) will make the right call and we will get the right mixture of players for the weekend."
Jonas describes the loss to Brisbane as "another lesson in the contest" with Port Adelaide losing the contested-possession count at the Gabba, 154-133.
"We obviously got one a few weeks ago (against West Coast) and bounced back," Jonas said. "We will be looking to do the same (in the Showdowns). Regardless of the result at the weekend, the Showdown is a unique beast and it requires you to be at the top of your game - and you always want to be.
"So we will be out there ready to crack in and, hopefully, play some really strong and contested footy."
The loss at the Gabba marked the fourth consecutive defeat to Brisbane.
"There is a pattern there," Jonas said. "And certainly something we have to look to rectify if we get an opportunity either later in the year or something we revisit next year before we play them."
Port Adelaide will train on Thursday with former captain Travis Boak expected to prove his fitness after missing the Brisbane game with a quad strain. The same is expected with defender Ryan Burton (ribs).