Finals Port Of Call For Carlton

Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/Getty Images
Jeff Garlett returns for Carlton this weekend. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/Getty Images
Last Five Matches

Round 8, 2013 – Carlton 109 d Port Adelaide 91 at Etihad Stadium
Round 10, 2012 – Port Adelaide 99 d Carlton 45 at AAMI Stadium
Round 11, 2011 – Carlton 111 d Port Adelaide 49 at AAMI Stadium
Round 8, 2010 – Carlton 118 d Port Adelaide 92 at AAMI Stadium
Round 20, 2009 – Carlton 121 d Port Adelaide 67 at AAMI Stadium

Form

     Rd 18       Rd 19       Rd 20       Rd 21       Rd 22   
Port Adelaide    W  W  L  W  L
Carlton   W  L  L  W  L

While they didn’t know a top eight spot would be available this week, Carlton should have wrapped up a place in the finals in round 22, only to let a 17-point three-quarter time lead slip against Essendon to go down by six points . The Blues were wasteful in front of goal kicking 9.22, and the loss to a team which hadn’t come within cooee of its previous four opponents must cast serious doubts over the Blues’ ability to stand up in big games.

Port Adelaide goes in to this match with a finals spot secured, but Power was given a stark reminder of the gap between them and the top four last weekend with Fremantle destroying the visitors by 74 points . Port could muster just nine points by halftime and that loss undid the club’s good work the previous month where it won four out of its previous five matches

The home side has suffered a blow with consistent defender Alipate Carlile out with a sore back, as is speedy midfielder Kane Mitchell. Former skipper Dom Cassisi has been included alongside Tom Logan, Lewis Stevenson and Jack Hombsch. Carlton welcomes back Andrew Walker , David Ellard, Matthew Kreuzer and Jeff Garlett, although the hard-working Brock McLean is out with a quad injury.


Key Men

(Power) Travis Boak – Last year there was plenty of chat about Carlton making a play for Travis Boak . He has gone up a level this season after re-signing with Port Adelaide and he is one player likely to feature prominently in Brownlow voting. He was very quiet on a dark day against Freo but the week before he was simply superb against the Suns, racking up 35 possessions, nine marks and three goals. He averages over 28 touches per game at AAMI Stadium, compared to just 23 away from home, so expect him to be back to his best on home turf.

(Blues) Kade Simpson – There is little doubt Kade Simpson is currently the heart and soul of this Carlton side. The midfielder-cum-defender has been instrumental in most of the Blues’ better performances this season. Even last week against the Bombers he was Carlton’s best in a losing side picking up 33 touches and five marks. It was the fifth time in seven games he has collected 28 disposals or more.


Prediction

Mick Malthouse was absolutely furious at Carlton’s ordinary fourth quarter effort last weekend against Essendon, and it’s hard to believe the Blues won’t come out firing in a match in which Port really has nothing to play for in terms of ladder position. In saying that, Power won’t want to be going in to a rare finals series with two straight losses under their belt. Port has a proud record at AAMI Stadium this season winning eight of its 11 matches there, and with this being the final AFL game to be played at the venue, the boys from Alberton have plenty of incentive. Carlton has won six of the last seven against Power and the Blues have come away from interstate trips victorious on three out of four occasions this season. Their inconsistency from week to week, and within games, too, is too hard to ignore. Port Adelaide by 11 points .

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