Port Power faces the hard-running Kangaroos a week after a tough local derby.
NORTH MELBOURNE v PORT ADELAIDE
Sunday April 6, 4.10pm (AEST)
It's not the friendliest of time-slots but this should be a cracker. North Melbourne may have won last week but their effort was about as exciting as watching an Andrew Demetriou press conference. After a subdued start to the year, the Kangaroos will be looking to hit their straps from an attacking point of view. They will also want to make a statement against a real finals contender this year, but Port are one quality outfit with plenty of depth. And, if Chad Wingard fires up like he did last week, that's worth the price of admission alone.
- Port have struggled somewhat to back-up after Showdowns in recent years. The local derby is always such a tough encounter that the Power have only won five of their last six games the following week. That could also be down to Port being pretty crap for several years and the one time they won the week after was last season.
- North Melbourne haven't lost to the Power at Etihad Stadium since the 2005 Elimination Final.
- Brad Scott seemed hell-bent on deflecting attention away from his team's lacklustre start to the year when he fronted his post-match press conference last week. The Kangaroos have tweaked their game plan to be a little more defensive and it's probably still a work in progress. But to make sure everyone was talking about something else, he started bringing up people criticising Boomer Harvey and making a song and dance about it. Sure, people have called Boomer hungry before but no one's ever criticised his quality and his importance to the team was highlighted by three goals against the Bulldogs.
"(Shaun Hart) sits in the box and he continually taps me on the shoulder to (say) 'stay calm, stay focused, stick to the process' which is great for me as a coach, to have someone who's courageous enough to keep doing that because a coach can be a bit crazy on game day," said Ken Hinkley after almost giving his assistant a back-hander in the box during the Showdown. "I'd prefer not to do that, but sometimes emotion does tip over." Lucky for Hart, Hinkley's not Alastair Clarkson!
Last five games (includes 2013 season)
W 45 Essendon
L 14 Hawthorn
W 11 Collingwood
L 39 Essendon
W 29 Western Bulldogs
L 1 Carlton
W 24 Collingwood
L 16 Geelong
W 33 Carlton
W 55 Adelaide
Last 5 between clubs
Brent Harvey dominated from a fantasy perspective with 25 touches and three goals. But surely they're having a laugh when they say he had five scoring assists!
Cold hard fact
Port have won just two of the last six against the Kangas.
North are still a work in progress this year while the Power seem to be flying. Port has picked up where they left off last year and while they went to sleep against Adelaide for a quarter-and-a-bit, they re-discovered their mojo in a big way, reeling off 13 of the Showdown's last 16 goals. If you tag skipper Travis Boak, then Hamish Hartlett steps up. If you tag Hartlett then its Brad Ebert doing the damage. And, of course, there's always Wingard at the end to convert. Power by 13 points
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