Beau Waters is pivotal to the Eagles' chances. Image courtesy of foxsports.com.au/Daniel Wilkins/News Ltd
Last Five Meetings
Round 21, 2012 – West Coast Eagles 98 d Port Adelaide Power 50
Round 13, 2011 – West Coast Eagles 110 d Port Adelaide Power 88
Round 2, 2011 – West Coast 116 d Port Adelaide Power 98
Round 20, 2010 – Port Adelaide Power 61 d West Coast Eagles 60
Round 2, 2010 – Port Adelaide Power 89 d West Coast Eagles 86
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Port Adelaide kept on its early season roll under new coach Ken Hinkley last week when it blew away the Suns in the second quarter to just about wrap up the four points on the Gold Coast. Power has beaten three basement-quality teams, as well as Adelaide in the Showdown, and now they get the chance to beat a flag fancy, albeit one in poor form.
The Eagles have had their injury concerns this season, and their formline looks pretty average after losing to the previously winless Blues last weekend. Three defeats at Patersons Stadium in four starts is almost unheard of. Backline ball user Beau Waters returns to the line-up this week but fullback Darren Glass is still only a 50-50 chance of playing after suffering a shoulder injury against Carlton.
The one area the Eagles look to have an advantage is their forward line against Port’s no-name defence. Power lost solid veteran Troy Chaplin to Richmond in the off-season, but youngsters like Jasper Pittard, Tom Jonas and Campbell Heath have stepped up to the point where they’ve conceded the least points in the competition so far. There’s a big difference going up against the forward lines of the Demons, Giants and Suns, as compared to Josh Kennedy , Jack Darling and Co.
(Power) Chad Wingard – He has the ability to play in the midfield and spent some time there last season, but Chad Wingard is really establishing himself as a classy forward in the early part of 2013. He has kicked three goals in each of his past three games, and the lefty has produced some sublime pieces of play to find the sticks so far. With Robbie Gray moving in to Port’s forward line, he and Wingard give the Power plenty of options there at ground level.
(Eagles) Beau Waters – His courage and ball use can’t be questioned, but injuries are really starting to drag Beau Waters down. A calf problem meant he missed the Eagles past two games, and when he’s out West Coast really misses his ability to create from the back. He’s an All-Australian for a good reason and Port will need to make sure he isn’t given too much space to roam across halfback.
One of the features of Port Adelaide this season has been its spread of goalkickers. While Justin Westhoff has been outstanding up forward, the Power has had 18 different players boot goals so far in 2013, with an average of nine players per game getting on the scoreboard with a major. The Eagles will need someone to run all day with Westhoff who has just been covering an enormous amount of ground so far. West Coast still has plenty of weapons and John Worsfold’s side is better than it has been showing, but this is a tough trip against a team which is playing with plenty of confidence. Port’s bubble could burst, but with their draw, they don’t play a genuine gun outfit until Geelong in round nine. Who knows how long this winning streak could last. Power by 12 points
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