Port Adelaide will be out to prove it has progressed since last season as it takes on an inspired Sydney outfit this afternoon.
The Power have shown solid signs of improvement throughout the pre-season with their brigade of new recruits such as Brad Ebert and Chad Wingard controlling proceedings.
In contrast, Sydney surprised many with its victory over a decimated Fremantle, and played the confines of the SCG to its advantage.
The Swans will be buoyed by the return of Shane Mumford, who will take the brunt of the ruck duties after missing last week’s win. Mumford takes the place of Mark Seaby, a classic “fringe” player who can perform a task in the ruck when necessary.
Sydney’s typical shutdown game style may conflict with Port’s enthusiasm and hard running this week, but the experienced Swans should still hold the upper hand.
Key match-up – the ruck duel:
Shane Mumford vs. Jarrad Redden – One-sided as this match-up may look, Mumford won’t have a walk in the park this week. Despite being one of the game’s premier ruckman, Redden has already proven his worth in the face of adversity. While young Redden’s endurance will be tested, he will put up a strong fight.
Jesse White (Syd) – The inconsistent forward gets another chance this week to show his talents – but where to play him? Trialled as a second ruck throughout his career, White has also taken a liking to a centre-half-forward position with the ability to kick a bag of goals. Needs to have an impact or else his spot is under jeopardy again.
Justin Westhoff (Port) – The Hoff is fast becoming a veteran of Port Adelaide’s forward line, and with experience comes responsibility. Westhoff has shown he can work in tandem with John Butcher as a lethal forward pairing and will need to kick at least three goals for the Power to have a chance today.
Port would love to get a win for their home crowd, but Sydney are simply too strong.
Prediction: Swans by 28 points.
B: Ben Jacobs, Alipate Carlile, Jackson Trengove
HB: Danyle Pearce, Troy Chaplin, Jacob Surjan
C: Hamish Hartlett, Domenic Cassisi, Kane Cornes
HF: John McCarthy, Daniel Stewart, Robert Gray
F: Chad Wingard, Jay Schulz, Justin Westhoff
Foll: Jarrad Redden, Bradley Ebert, Travis Boak
IC: Matt Thomas, Paul Stewart, Matthew Broadbent, Cameron O’Shea
EM: Simon Phillips, Brent Renouf, Darren Pfeiffer
IN: Robert Gray
OUT: David Rodan
B: Martin Mattner, Heath Grundy, Alex Johnson
HB: Andrejs Everitt, Ted Richards, Rhyce Shaw
C: Craig Bird, Kieren Jack, Nick Malceski
HF: Jarrad McVeigh, Sam Reid, Lewis Jetta
F: Jude Bolton, Jesse White, Ben McGlynn
Foll: Shane Mumford, Adam Goodes, Josh P. Kennedy
IC: Ryan O’Keefe, Daniel Hannebery, Gary Rohan, Luke Parker
EM: Mark Seaby, Nathan Gordon, Harry Cunningham
IN: Jesse White, Shane Mumford, Andrejs Everitt
OUT: Lewis Roberts-Thomson (Cheekbone), Nicholas Smith (Virus), Mark Seaby