It’s another game set to shape up the bottom half of top eight and those below it, as Fremantle continue their push for finals with a trip to South Australia to play Port Adelaide.
While the Power cannot make finals, there’s no doubt they’ll be instilling the mindset to win every game they can, which could pose problems for Fremantle who need to do the same to hurdle those above them in the top eight.
Either way, this one seems to be an interestingly even contest.
The Power have made ground this year with their improvement and development overall, despite only winning five games and sitting 14th, and will no doubt take a lot from their victory last week over Melbourne in Darwin.
Despite the long-term Travis Boak controversy, who was arguably best on ground last week, Port Adelaide have unveiled some great talent over the course of the season.
Boak, Danyle Pearce and Kane Cornes, as some of the more senior players, keep trucking along, as does Domenic Cassisi, but new faces such as Brad Ebert, Paul Stewart and Matthew Broadbent are all leading the way in what is a good year overall for their younger contingent.
A fair few of them can hit the scoreboard, as they are slowly starting to prove with Jay Schulz out and including Justin Westhoff – Stewart kicked five goals last week – and provided they can get it forward effectively, they may have the firepower to damage.
Given that they should have a ruck advantage – Jonathon Griffin will line up on his own against Matthew Lobbe and Daniel Stewart – and the home ground advantage, it’s perfectly feasible to see a Port Adelaide win, especially since they have the habit of knocking off teams around Fremantle’s mark, with wins against North Melbourne, Carlton and St Kilda at AAMI this year.
Fremantle will look for their tenth win of the season in their surge for finals, and even then seem to fly under the radar. David Mundy hit good form last week and now their midfield is starting to look damaging.
With the returning Nat Fyfe, who has overcome his shoulder injury, amongst names such as Michael Barlow, Matt de Boer, Stephen Hill and Clancee Pearce, their midfield has a bit of variety and, while not elite, is a great group of both inside and outside players who can harm sides with ease.
They’ll need to give all they can to the captain back in his home state, Matthew Pavlich. He’s in ripping form and whether’s he on or not should have a fair say in which way the result swings.
They also feature the returning set shot star Chris Mayne and also Hayden Ballantyne, Michael Walters and Kepler Bradley up forward – a diverse forward line featuring a number of players that can kick many goals on any given day.
If the Dockers can get on a roll, with the overall skill level and performance to date, they should win.
Players to Watch
Matthew Broadbent: In his 50th game, the young midfielder’s been impressive this year, racking up enough ball and hitting the scoreboard frequently enough to have an important impact for Port Adelaide. He’s got the confidence of a good game behind him and he’s that sort of striking player who could very well hurt given the chance.
Nat Fyfe: He will arguably be underdone, slotting straight into the seniors after a long layoff with a shoulder injury. The young star has the talent, everybody knows that, but it will be very interesting to watch his return to see whether he can have the impact he normally can.
Fremantle continue to pinch games, and with a host of players in good form, they can easily win if Port Adelaide lose touch.
In saying that, the Power know they can beat sides of Fremantle’s calibre in Adelaide, and I reckon they can do it again.
Port Adelaide by 5
B: Tom Logan, Alipate Carlile, Jackson Trengove
HB: Tom Jonas, Troy Chaplin, Domenic Cassisi
C: Matthew Broadbent, Travis Boak, Kane Cornes
HF: Danyle Pearce, Justin Westhoff, Andrew Moore
F: Paul Stewart, Daniel Stewart, Brett Ebert
Foll: Matthew Lobbe, Matt Thomas, Brad Ebert
I/C: Jarrad Redden,Aaron Young, Chad Wingard, Darren Pfeiffer, John McCarthy
Emg: Cameron Hitchcock, Ben Jacobs, Jarrad Redden
In: Darren Pfeiffer
Out: Jasper Pittard (ribs)
Milestones: Matthew Broadbent – 50 games, Tom Logan – 100 games
B: Lee Spurr, Luke McPharlin, Adam McPhee
HB: Garrick Ibbotson, Michael Johnson, David Mundy
C: Paul Duffield, Ryan Crowley, Dylan Roberton
HF: Michael Walters, Kepler Bradley, Stephen Hill
F: Hayden Ballantyne, Matthew Pavlich, Clancee Pearce
Foll: Jonathon Griffin, Michael Barlow, Nathan Fyfe
I/C: Chris Mayne, Matt de Boer, Tendai Mzungu, Cam Sutcliffe
Emg: Nick Suban, Lachie Neale, Zac Dawson
In: Chris Mayne, Nat Fyfe
Out: Zac Clarke, Nick Suban