Port Tries To Power On

Image courtesy of adelaidenow.com.au/Sarah Reed
Kane Cornes has been a prolific ball-winner this season. Image courtesy of adelaidenow.com.au/Sarah Reed
Last Five Meetings

Round 8, 2012 – Port Adelaide Power 95 d North Melbourne Kangaroos 93 (AAMI)
Round 14, 2011 – North Melbourne Kangaroos 136 d Port Adelaide Power 91 (AAMI)
Round 6, 2011 – North Melbourne Kangaroos 133 d Port Adelaide Power 73 (Etihad)
Round 13, 2010 – North Melbourne Kangaroos 129 d Port Adelaide Power 93 (Etihad)
Round 1, 2010 – Port Adelaide Power 96 d North Melbourne Kangaroos 82 (AAMI)


Form

     Rd 1       Rd 2       Rd 3       Rd 4       Rd 5   
North Melbourne   L  L  L  W  L
Port Adelaide   W  W  W  W  W

True to form, the Kangaroos had a massive chance to beat the high-flying Hawks on Sunday, but not for the first time they couldn’t get the job done late in the final quarter. It’s hard to believe but the ‘Roos, despite being 1-4, really look like they’re in good form. Their draw gets easier from here after a nightmare start, but having lost by 16 points to Collingwood, four to Geelong and three to Hawthorn, they really could have claimed some big scalps by now.

The Kangaroos’ penchant for fading away late in games possibly started in round 8 last season when they let slip a 27-point lead early in the final quarter to go down to Port Adelaide by two points. Given’s Port’s stunning finishing burst at the weekend where they came back from 41 points down against the Eagles to win by five , North could well get the shakes if the Power are anywhere within striking distance in the closing stages.

This is Port’s first real test away from home after beating Melbourne and the Gold Coast on the road so far in 2013. Defender Jackson Trengove will be sidelined long-term thanks to a foot injury, but that aside, Ken Hinkley’s outfit has been relatively lucky with a near empty casualty ward, although the coach will miss this match after coming down with a virus midweek. Robbie Gray was simply sensational in his cameo off the bench and he really sparked Port’s revival.


Key Men

(Kangaroos) Scott Thompson – Each game Scott Thompson just seems to get better and better as a key defender. There was one Scott Thompson in the All-Australian team last year – the Crows’ inspirational midfielder - but you could easily argue the Kangaroo version wasn’t too far off. He was nothing short of outstanding against the Hawks at the weekend, and considering Lance Franklin kicked 13 goals last time they met, it was a magnificent effort to keep him goalless in the tight encounter. Thompson’s direct opponent hasn’t kicked a goal in the last 13 quarters of football he has played, which is up there with the Bombers’ Jake Carlisle for excellence in defence this season. He is a brilliant intercept mark, exceptional in one-on-one contests, and can stand tall and mid-size forwards. Next cab off the rank will be Jay Schulz or Justin Westhoff on Saturday.

(Power) Kane Cornes – Now aged 30, Kane Cornes surprised plenty of people last season when he won his fourth Best and Fairest award with Port. He seems rejuvenated playing with this young squad and has posted the team’s highest possession count in four of its five games in 2013 and he is averaging bang on 30 touches per game. He is still a very good kick of the football and can rack up possessions as well as he can take opposition guns out of the game as a run-with player.


Prediction

Port has beaten some mediocre opposition, as well as two of last year’s top five sides, both of which are badly out of touch, though. Win this and the Power is halfway to a finals spot. This is the first of three straight games for Port against teams that are likely to be fringe top eight sides in the ‘Roos, Tigers and Blues. Twice this season they’ve run teams down from well behind, while North has surrendered big leads against the Cats and Swans. If Brad Scott’s team gets in front, can lightning strike three times? If Andrew Swallow , Daniel Wells and Jack Ziebell are as dominant at stoppages as they were against the Hawks’ blue-chip midfield, then it’s unlikely.  Kangaroos by 12 points

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