Justin Westhoff kicked a career-high five goals against GWS. Image courtesy of adelaidenow.com.au/Simon Cross
Last Five Meetings
Round 15, 2012 – Adelaide Crows 116 d Port Adelaide Power 58
Round 5, 2012 – Adelaide Crows 110 d Port Adelaide Power 91
Round 19, 2011 – Adelaide Crows 111 d Port Adelaide Power 79
Round 4, 2011 – Port Adelaide Power d 98 d Adelaide Crows 66
Round 17, 2010 – Port Adelaide Power 88 d Adelaide Crows 69
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Port Adelaide sits second on the table with a very healthy percentage of over 200, but after games against wooden spoon candidates Melbourne and GWS to start the season, the so-called ‘litmus test’ comes on Sunday in the Showdown against fierce rival Adelaide . There is plenty of excitement building at Alberton, especially with some sparkling performances from young guns Ollie Wines and Jake Neade in the first couple of weeks.
The Crows have won the last three derbies by an average of 36 points, but in reality Port has been non-competitive over the past couple of seasons. Adelaide could well have started the season with two straight losses, but some Patrick Dangerfield magic in the fourth quarter against Brisbane got them home at a wet ‘Gabba. Josh Jenkins was terrific up forward last week finishing with 12 marks, but it is Taylor Walker the man the Power has to watch with the Crows star kicking 10 goals in his past two Showdown appearances. This will be a good test for Port’s young defence to see if the likes of Lewis Stevenson and Jasper Pittard can handle Adelaide’s array of weapons in the forward 50.
Port Adelaide has maintained its two-man ruck rotation, although Hawthorn premiership player Brent Renouf has replaced Jarrad Redden in the 22. Livewire forward Robbie Gray has been named as an emergency as he tried to comeback from a year out with a knee injury.
(Power) Justin Westhoff – Is probably a better player than his numbers show, having never kicked more than 28 goals in a season, but this could be a breakout year for Justin Westhoff. He was brought to tears during the pre-match tribute to fallen teammate John McCarthy last weekend and responded with the first five-goal haul of his career as he tore apart GWS. He kicked 1.4 in the slaughter of Melbourne, so he’s getting plenty of opportunities in front of goal and he’s an ideal foil for key forward Jay Schultz .
(Crows) Sam Jacobs – It’s going to be a problem for Port Adelaide all season. The Power just doesn’t have the quality in the ruck department, and as hard as Matthew Lobbe and Brent Renouf might try, they just can’t match the likes of Sam Jacobs. He destroyed Lobbe in the second Showdown last season amassing a phenomenal 61 hit-outs compared the Power player’s 12. It gave Adelaide’s midfield first use of the ball and from there the game was over. If Port’s twin towers can’t nullify him this time around, the Crows will cruise home.
Port has certainly had by far the easier draw of the two teams, and should come in to this match relatively fresh. The Crows had a week’s break before slugging it out in the rain with Brisbane. That match may have taken something out of them, but it’s hard to see Brenton Sanderson not having his time firing on all cylinders for this one. Adelaide’s intensity and hardness at the ball last season was something else, and Port won’t have even come close to facing that type of pressure in the opening two rounds. Crows by 15 points
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