The former AFL brothers at the centre of a potential legal fight with the Adelaide and Port Adelaide football clubs over the use of a Showdown image say they never wanted to make the dispute public.

Troy Bond, a Crows premiership player, and his brother Shane, who played for the Power, have threatened to take their former clubs to court.

The pair claim the Crows and the Power have since 2018 used — without their authorisation — an image on the Showdown Shield, Showdown Medal and promotional material as part of the annual rivalry matches between the two clubs.

“Shane and Troy wish to make it clear that the meetings they requested with Power and the Crows to discuss this matter were not agreed to by the clubs until this matter became public,” their lawyer Greg Griffin said in a statement exclusively provided to ABC Sport.

The Power and the Crows said they were willing to meet the brothers next week with the 54th edition of the Showdown rivalry to be held on Saturday night at the Adelaide Oval.

A football player in a red jersey

Troy Bond pictured in 1997, when he played for the Crows. (ABC News)

The image the Bonds have an issue with was a 1997 photograph capturing the brothers embracing after the Crows seven-point victory in Showdown Two.

The brothers argue the use of the image implies they have a commercial relationship with the clubs and children’s charity Variety SA, which sponsors the derby match-ups.

“They always wanted this to be sorted out privately with the clubs and a resolution reached which is fair to them and both clubs,” Mr Griffin said in a statement.

“They have never sought to involve Variety in this matter which has its own commercial agreements with each club which are entirely unaffected by the current process.

“This is about treating past players with the respect they are entitled to and had that happened from the outset with the clubs acknowledging that to commercialise the Showdown images, as they have done very successfully, that first they had to secure the consent of the owners of the images rights to do so there would be no dispute now.”

Two men holding a large trophy on an oval

Crows midfielder Rory Sloan and Port Adelaide captain Tom Jonas with the Showdown Shield last year. (ABC News: Camron Slessor )

In videos, put on the Port Adelaide and Adelaide club websites in May 2018 introducing the Showdown Shield with their images embedded on it, the Bond brothers spoke of their pride in the concept.

“Just a fantastic honour and very humbling and yeah very honoured,” Shane Bond said at the time.

Troy Bond said the image “kind of puts footy in perspective”.

“Yes you go out, you play it hard but at the end of the day it’s not the end of the world whether you win or you lose,” he said.

On its website, Variety SA described the shield as a key pillar in a partnership between it and the football clubs and provides “a vehicle for Variety to educate the broader South Australian community on the work the charity does with local children”.