Both Port Adelaide and Richmond have performed better than their one win apiece and 14th and 15th spots on the ladder suggest.
Last week the ‘Tiges almost caused a boilover, coming within 10 points of the high flying Eagles, while Port lost Showdown XXXIII by 19 points against the then fifth place Crows.
Apart from their annual first-round touch up by the Blues, Richmond where thereabouts in a 21-point loss to Collingwood, had a resounding win over the Demons and very nearly beat the reigning premiers for the second time in 2012 in round four.
Port started the season promisingly with a first-up win against the Saints and have been right in the game into the third quarter of their four losses since against the well regarded Swans, Crows, Bombers and Pies.
Port lose their second-highest goal kicker Jay Schultz, and Chad Winguard to injury, yet welcome back the dangerous Daniel Stewart to their forward line with Brad Ebert, Tom Logan, Cameron Hitchcok and Simon Phillips forming an extended bench.
Kane Cornes, free from sibling stress, is having a cracking year for the Power, averaging 28 disposals and third for the comp for marks taken.
Justin Westhoff is leading the way up forward with a dozen goals – leaving him in tenth in the race for the Coleman – and was declared Port’s “only good player” by Matthew Primus in the aftermath of the Showdown loss.
Richmond will be without the in-form Daniel Jackson to suspension for a head butt he claimed he didn’t remember committing, yet welcome back Luke McGuane, Shane Edwards, Jake (the pushup) King and 18-year old Oakleigh Charger draftee Matthew Arnot to their extended squad.
Nine Tigers have been averaging twenty-plus touches for the season thus far, lead by Shaun Grigg and Brett Deledio with 141 and 140 disposals respectively and helped by their mulleted ruckman Ivan Maric who has chalked up 131 hit-outs and the astute clearance work of Trent Crochin.
Richmond have been able to find numerous avenues to goal this season, with 17 different goal kickers and usual forward focal-point Jack Riewoldt second behind Brad Miller for six-pointers so far in 2012.
Domenic Cassisi v Dustin Martin – The Port captain will need to subdue the red-hot Martin, who on top of his 105 disposals for the year, has chipped in with five goals.
Justin Westhoff v Dylan Grimes – Westhoff will need to continue his great form and kick a bag for Port to have any hope, while Grimes has been solid down back, taking 36 marks for the year.
Kane Cornes v Shaun Grigg – The respective side’s two leading ball-winners meet in a crucial and no doubt close-checking contest in the middle with each hoping to free-up and service their young guns Travis Boak and Trent Cotchin
Jack Riewoldt v Alipatie Carlille – While Brad Miller has been leading the way up front with 10 goals, Riewoldt has been gradually returning to form, and his contested marking ability clashes with the size and smothering ability of Carlille in one avenue to goal Port will need to close down.
Port boast a 10 to 3 record over the Tigers at AAMI stadium, however their last clash here saw Richmond win by a comprehensive 47 points in 2010.
Paul Stewart and Alex Rance celebrate 50 game milestones for their respective teams.
With both teams fighting to salvage any hope for September action, the injury to Schultz, on top of Robbie Gray being out for the season may be too much to overcome for the home side. Richmond have had goal-kickers pop up all over the ground, and with Riewoldt finding some form and their midfield getting lots of it, should have too much forward firepower for Port.
Richmond by 16.
B: Trengove Carlile Surjan
HB: Hartlett Chaplin Jacobs
C: P Stewart Cassisi Cornes
HF: Boak Westhoff Broadbent
F: D Stewart Butcher McCarthy
Fol: Renouf Brad Ebert Rodan
I/C: Brett Ebert Hitchcock Logan Pearce Pfeiffer Young Phillips
In: Logan Brett Ebert Phillips D Stewart Hitchcock
Out: Schulz (eye) Wingard (shoulder)
B: Morris Rance Newman
HB: Houli Grimes Batchelor
C: Grigg Martin Ellis
HF: Deledio Miller Foley
F: Conca Riewoldt Vickery
Fol: I Maric Cotchin Tuck
I/C: Dea Nahas White King Edwards Arnot McGuane
In: McGuane Edwards King Arnot
Out: Jackson (suspended)