Where and When: AAMI Stadium, Sunday 1st April, 4:10 pm (4:40 EST)
After a year both teams would rather forget, few teams would be looking forward to the commencement of round 1 more than Port Adelaide and St Kilda.
Port come in to the game having gained back some of the confidence that was lost throughout the 2011 season, Matthew Primus will be hoping to see this transfer in to the real stuff.
St Kilda had a much more subtle pre-season in comparison to last year’s debacle and as such, will seek to return to the recent normality of running deep in to September.
This match also features Scott Watters’ debut as senior coach for St Kilda after the Ross Lyon scandal of last year. First impressions are always important and no doubt Watters would love to get the first win out of the way.
St Kilda will also welcome back Lenny Hayes after his season-ending ACL injury he sustained early last year.
Port Adelaide will be weakened by the loss of their reigning B&F winner Jackson Trengove, who misses this week through injury
After the seasons both teams have had, it’s difficult to get a read on what to expect.
Will St Kilda capture their 2009/10 form?
Will Lenny Hayes return to his former standing?
Will Goddard and Riewoldt come back hard after disappointing 2011 campaigns?
How will Scott Watters fare in a senior coaching position?
Will Port Adelaide improve on their horrific 2011 season?
How will Port’s debutants adapt to AFL level?
Can Matthew Primus find a solution to the problems of last year?
Is Butcher the man to lead Port to the promised land?
All these questions and more begin to be answered on Sunday afternoon, bring on round one!
PLAYERS TO WATCH
JARRAD REDDEN: The ruckman makes his debut for Port Adelaide this weekend and will immediately slot in as Port’s number one in the ruck. Having had an impressive pre-season, he will be thrown to the wolves coming up against McEvoy after a break out year.
TRAVIS BOAK: A player who continues to prove for Port and will be vital if the Power is to win. A classy player who should step up yet another level in 2012.
NICK RIEWOLDT: A poor 2011 by his own admission, 2012 will be all about personal redemption. As they say, you can never keep a champion down.
LENNY HAYES: It’s always good to see a champion fight his way back, especially one as well respected as Hayes. He may take some time to get back to full flight, but he will remain a delight to watch.
Prediction: St Kilda by 7 points
B: B.Jacobs, A.Carlile, J.Surjan
HB: D.Pearce, T.Chaplin, H.Hartlett
C: C.O’Shea, D.Cassisi, P.Stewart
HF: T.Boak, J.Butcher, J.Westhoff
F: C.Wingard, J.Schulz, D.Stewart
Foll: J.Redden, Bra.Ebert, J.McCarthy
I/C: K.Cornes, M.Broadbent, M.Thomas, D.Rodan
Emg: T.Logan, D.Pfeiffer, A.Young
B: Brett Peake, Sam Gilbert, Jarryn Geary
HB: Jamie Cripps, Sam Fisher, Sean Dempster
C: Nick Dal Santo, Lenny Hayes, Brendon Goddard
HF: Jack Steven, Nick Riewoldt, Tom Ledger
F: Stephen Milne, Justin Koschitzke, Rhys Stanley
Foll: Ben McEvoy, Clinton Jones, Leigh Montagna
I/C: Jason Blake, David Armitage, Dean Polo, Terry Milera
Emg: Farren Ray, Arryn Siposs, Beau Wilkes