Veteran Kane Cornes has been instrumental in Port's wins this season. Image courtesy of adelaidenow.com.au/Sarah Reed
Last Five Matches
Round 3, 2012 – Sydney 105 d Port Adelaide 83 at AAMI Stadium
Round 8, 2011 – Sydney 121 d Port Adelaide 59 at SCG
Round 12, 2010 – Sydney 93 d Port Adelaide 55 at AAMI Stadium
Round 9, 2009 – Sydney 123 d Port Adelaide 68 at SCG
Round 9, 2008 Sydney 105 d Port Adelaide 94 at AAMI Stadium
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John Longmire’s Sydney team has been scarily good the past month, easily disposing of Collingwood by 47 , Essendon by 44 and Adelaide by 77 at AAMI Stadium. There’s also the small matter of gun tall Kurt Tippett turning out in a Swans’ uniform for the first time this weekend after serving his 11-game suspension. He’s a timely inclusion, given Shane Mumford’s cheek injury will keep him out for a few weeks. Longmire has already said, though, that Tippett will be nursed back in to football in the forward line as he doesn’t have the conditioning to play around the ground in the ruck.
The Power will almost be a sideshow to Tippett’s return to Adelaide, which won’t make Ken Hinkley happy as he wants people to respect his Port Adelaide team more. Well, it’s one thing to beat up on GWS, but a win against the other Sydney team may do a little more to earn his young Power side some credibility. When you go on a five-game losing streak, the best teams in the league probably won’t take much notice of you. The Giants team Kevin Sheedy sent out yesterday was the youngest in the league in over 50 years, so the 75-point win earnt little apart from four premiership points, as GWS made a series of schoolboy errors befitting their tender age.
Port has suffered a major blow with skipper Travis Boak out for the next couple of weeks after having surgery on his dislocated finger. Former captain Dom Cassisi replaced him, while Jasper Pittard also returns.
(Power) Kane Cornes – He just keeps on keeping on, Kane Cornes . On the day he broke Warren Tredrea’s Port Adelaide games record, the Power’s ever-consistent midfielder was best-on-ground for the umpteenth time his career after picking up 34 touches. He has had great games against far better teams before, and his experience will be instrumental against one of the premiership fancies. He averages 26 possessions, six marks and six tackles over his past four games against Sydney, and more than any other player, he’s the one man the Swans will need to keep quiet to prevent an upset.
(Swans) Kurt Tippett – He was a good but not great key forward at Adelaide, but few players have Kurt Tippett’s intoxicating mix of height and athleticism. The interesting thing will be to see how he fits in to Sydney’s forward line and pattern of play. Mike Pyke won’t get much rest time with Shane Mumford out and John Longmire stating Tippett won’t be joining the ruck division just yet. The Swans haven’t had a marquee forward since Barry Hall, preferring to let Sam Reid develop as a young half-forward. Can he put himself in the mix without throwing out the balance of the team?
It probably doesn’t matter how Kurt Tippett plays in this one, the Swans will win. Unless they’ve managed to completely lose form during their week off, they’re simply functioning too well to be brought down by a team like Port Adelaide which still has too many weak spots. The Bloods have taken the last eight in this series, and four of those were in Adelaide. As if Sydney’s midfield depth wasn’t strong already, they’ve now unleashed ball magnet Tom Mitchell on the competition, and, as with almost all Swannies, he’s a tackling machine from early indications. Even though Sydney hasn’t been a high-scoring team in a number of previous seasons, the Swans have passed the 100-mark in six of the past seven battles with Port Adelaide. Since round 5, 2009, Sydney has lost just one game when reaching triple figures – against Geelong this year. The Power better hope its defence is switched on. Sydney by 29 points
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