WHERE AND WHEN: AAMI Stadium, Sunday June 10, 4.10pm
LAST TIME: Hawthorn 31.11 (197) defeated Port Adelaide 5.2 (32), round 21, 2011 at the MCG
Sunday afternoon sees Football Park host Port Adelaide and Hawthorn, in a game that most expect to see a comfortable win to the in-form Hawks. Hawthorn found their mojo last week and punished the listless Kangaroos to the tune of 115 points, although Port Adelaide had a big win of their own against Carlton, doubling the Blues’ score.
No one would doubt that Hawthorn are the more talented of the two sides, and when playing at their best should comfortably account for last year’s second bottom side in Port Adelaide…yet Port continue to surprise the masses with better form than most expected, and have now won their last three by beating North despite only playing a quarter and a half of footy, had a comfortable win over the Suns, and a comprehensive thrashing of Carlton stemming from a midfield dominance that most didn’t see coming.
Port Adelaide’s midfield is under rated, and could stretch the one paced Hawks on the wide expanses of Football Park. Matthew Broadbent has hardly raised an eyebrow on the Eastern seaboard in recent weeks, yet is realistically one of the in-form players of the last month. His in close competitive nature combined with his hard running when the opposition have the footy has been as important to the Port resurgence as anyone.
More importantly, Port Adelaide are playing uncompromising, hard working, team football with and without the ball – in short, they are working hard for each other.
The return to form of Danyle Pearce cannot be denied, and Hamish Hartlett continues to show the footy world why he was so highly rated as a junior. Both however will be expected to help fill the void left by the loss of Travis Boak who will miss with a foot injury.
All the talk leading up to this match will rightfully be focused on Lance Franklin. The man who can potentially lay claim to being the most talented in the country was in the zone and then some last week. Everything he touched turned to gold. However the enigmatic Alipate Carlise has had one of his best seasons to date defensively speaking, and should prove a much tougher opponent than the North Melbourne defense.
The big query for Port is Jay Schulz. Possibly the most efficient forward in the league this year received bruising to the ribs last week, and is only considered an even chance to line up on Sunday. Without him improving on his 22 goals from eight matches, it is hard to see the Power offering enough up forward to defeat a Hawks outfit that will be aiming for 5 wins from their last 6 outings.
Lance Franklin vs Alipate Carlisle – Huge for this contest. If Carlisle can keep Franklin to three goals or less, the Power will be in with a chance. If Franklin gets off the leash and kicks accurately, the Hawks rarely let the game slip.
Brad Sewell vs Dom Cassisi – The two strong bodied midfielders are likely to spend much of the evening head to head. Cassisi will need to win his share and get first use of the footy to Hartlett, Pearce and the Port runners in order for them to gain the quick entry inside 50 that Shultz and Justin Westhoff require.
Both sides are up and about, although since round three the form when playing against the current top ten is fairly similar.
This game should be closer than most are tipping, and I’m putting my neck out and tipping an upset.
Port Adelaide by 10 points.
B: Jackson Trengove, Alipate Carlile, Jacob Surjan
HB: Danyle Pearce, Troy Chaplin, Hamish Hartlett
C: Darren Pfeiffer, Domenic Cassisi, Kane Cornes
HF: John McCarthy, Justin Westhoff, Matthew Broadbent
F: Chad Wingard, Jay Schulz, Brett Ebert
Foll: Brent Renouf, Bradley Ebert, Matt Thomas
I/C: Paul Stewart, Jarrad Redden, Andrew Moore, Ben Jacobs
Emg: Tom Logan, Cameron Hitchcock, Aaron Young
In: John McCarthy
Out: Travis Boak (Foot)
Milestones: Justin Westhoff – 100 games
B: Brent Guerra, Josh Gibson, Shaun Burgoyne
HB: Grant Birchall, Ryan Schoenmakers, Benjamin Stratton
C: Bradley Hill, Sam Mitchell, Clinton Young
HF: Isaac Smith, Lance Franklin, Luke Breust
F: Cyril Rioli, Jarryd Roughead, Brendan Whitecross
Foll: David Hale, Brad Sewell, Liam Shiels
I/C: Shane Savage, Matt Suckling, Paul Puopolo, Jack Gunston
Emg: Stephen Gilham, Thomas Murphy, Taylor Duryea
In: Jack Gunston
Out: Jordan Lewis (Suspension)
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