Port Tries To Power On

Image courtesy of couriermail.com.au
Jared Brennan was a standout for the Suns against the Lions. Image courtesy of couriermail.com.au
Last Two Meetings

Round 5, 2011 – Gold Coast Suns 104 d Port Adelaide Power 101
Round 9, 2012 – Port Adelaide Power 118 d Gold Coast Suns 70


Form

     Rd 1       Rd 2       Rd 3   
Gold Coast 

 W

 L

 L

Port Adelaide 

 W

 W

 W


Last season Ken Hinkley was working side-by-side with Gold Coast boss Guy McKenna as an assistant coach at Metricon Stadium. Now he stands undefeated after three games in his new role as Port Adelaide head coach. Sunday’s victory in the Showdown with Adelaide was nothing short of phenomenal. Down by as much as 31 points midway through the third quarter, Port kicked nine of the last 12 goals of the game to upset the Crows by nine points . In the end the Power just ran out the game harder than Adelaide.

Gold Coast, on the other hand, went down in another derby thriller against the Lions. The Suns looked dead and buried on a couple of occasions but kept on coming to give big brother Brisbane a real fright going down by just two points . The good news is the result was achieved without Gary Ablett Jnr having a big influence on the game thanks to some tight tagging by Andrew Raines throughout. Ablett looks set overcome a bruised hand to take his place on Saturday night.

While players like Justin Westhoff and Travis Boak have ertainly lifted this season, it has been the impact made by rookies Oliver Wines, Jake Neade and Kane Mitchell which has made the footy world sit up and take notice. Throw in some impressive efforts by young defenders Lewis Stevenson and Jasper Pittard, and Hinkley seems to have plenty of talent to work with. Mitchell has dropped back to the rookie list, though, with defender Nick Salter returning from a serious foot injury. The Power will miss his dash after making an impact as a sub all three seasons. They regain former skipper Dom Cassisi and livewire Robbie Gray from a long-term knee injury.


Key Men

(Suns) Jared Brennan – This guy’s best is almost as good as anyone’s in the competition, but it happens all too infrequently. Two years ago he was best-on-ground in the Suns’ win over the Lions at the ‘Gabba, and he just about conjured up another famous victory at Metricon last Saturday night. He was very quiet the first two weeks but came to life in the Q Clash with 30 touches and 10 clearances. On a greasy night, his hands were first-class. He has never really established a permanent role for himself at either the Lions or Suns, but a few more games like his effort last weekend will see him find a spot in the Gold Coast engine room for the rest of the season.

(Power) Hamish Hartlett – Had he been playing on a high-profile team, Hamish Hartlett would be considered one of the better young mids going around. He’s hard at the ball and a great tackler and when he goes well, Port seems to go well. He was a standout in the victories over the Demons and Crows, and if he can avoid any more injury problems (he has never managed more than 16 games in a season) the Power have every chance of being around come September.


Prediction

The Suns have had two wet weather games in a row, which probably isn’t ideal for a young team which has plenty of pace. They’ve certainly excelled, at times, against Brisbane and Sydney in difficult conditions, but a fast track would be ideal for Saturday night’s encounter. Port is riding high after three straight wins, and the Suns really need to find a way to stop Justin Westhoff who has been nigh-on unstoppable the past fortnight. If Kane Cornes does a shutdown job on Gary Ablett Jnr, the Suns will do it tough trying to stop the rampant visitors. Gold Coast has a soft draw to start 2013, and this would have been identified as a very winnable game pre-season, but it’s hard to stop a team on a roll. Power by 18 points  

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