Power Look To Switch Back On Against Cats

Image courtesy of adelaidenow.com.au/Sarah Reed
Veteran Kane Cornes has excelled this season. Image courtesy of adelaidenow.com.au/Sarah Reed
Last Five Meetings

Round 14, 2012 – Geelong 99 d Port Adelaide 61 (Simonds Stadium)
Round 3, 2011 – Geelong 122 d Port Adelaide 43 (Simonds Stadium)
Round 4, 2010 – Geelong 159 d Port Adelaide 64 (Simonds Stadium)
Round 13, 2009 – Geelong 122 d Port Adelaide 88 (Simonds Stadium)
Round 12, 2008 – Geelong 108 d Port Adelaide 49 (Simonds Stadium)


Form

     Rd 4       Rd 5       Rd 6       Rd 7       Rd 8   
Port Adelaide   W  W  L  L  L
Geelong   W  W  W  W  L

It is one of the quirks of the AFL draw that Port Adelaide and Geelong have faced off just once in five successive seasons, and each time the game was played at Simonds Stadium. For the first time since the opening round of the 2008 season the teams clash at AAMI Stadium on Saturday, but you have to go back even further to when the Power last toppled the Cats; it was round 21 in 2007, and since Geelong humiliated Port in that season’s grand final it has had a stranglehold over this match-up.

After five weeks these were two of the three unbeaten teams in the competition but losses to three fringe top eight teams – North Melbourne, Richmond and Carlton – have put the brakes on talk of finals football at Alberton. After cracking starts to the year, Hamish Hartlett and Justin Westhoff have gone quiet, and Ken Hinkley will need to get more out of his promising younger crew with Kane Cornes shouldering plenty of load in the team’s losing streak. Hartlett, in particular, has looked increasingly frustrated at copping the hard tag each week.

Steve Johnson’s late withdrawal with a calf problem prior to the six-point loss to Collingwood last week was a big blow for the Cats. ‘Stevie J’ has been outstanding working predominantly in the midfield this season and he returns after just a week off. Port has made four changes with Dom Cassisi out with a hamstring injury while livewire forward Jake Neade has been rested.


Key Men

(Power) Robbie Gray – A serious knee injury put the burgeoning career of Robbie Gray on hold last season, but you only had to watch the second half of the comeback win over West Coast to see the potential impact he can have on this team. Forget the fact the Power have lost all three matches in which he has started, Port is a much better side with him in the 22. His tackling in the forward half of the ground is immense and in last week’s loss to Carlton he recorded 16 disposals, seven tackles and two goals.

(Cats) Andrew Mackie – He can be brilliant on his day and go missing at other times, but there’s no doubt Andrew Mackie can be an integral part of this Geelong team when its running hot. The good news for Cats fans is that he was superb in the loss to the ‘Pies racking up 28 disposals and seven marks. His rebound from the back half has been key in the Cats’ hot start to the season and at 192cm tall, he has the ability to play on both tall and small forwards.


Prediction

They haven’t been far away on the scoreboard but the Port Adelaide team that has appeared the past three weeks seems vastly different to the hard-running outfit that shocked the AFL world with five straight wins to start the season. This has the potential to be a reality check for the Power, with Geelong surely smarting after its first loss of the season. The Cats have simply dominated Port over the past few years and they have won five of their past seven at AAMI Stadium against the two Adelaide sides. Cats by 19 points

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