Port Adelaide fans will be relieved to see Paddy Ryder make his return this week from suspension. The versatile ruckman had been one of Port’s best players in this early stage of the season. Ryder’s return will allow Jackson Trengove to spend more time up forward drawing defenders away from Charlie Dixon. This is a big bonus for Port as its forward line last week looked too Dixon-centric, much in the same fashion as last year. With ruckman Matthew Kreuzer set to miss through soreness, Andrew Phillips will play his first game of the season after playing 16 games in 2016. If Ryder is able to use his experience, he should be able to provide the likes of Travis Boak and Ollie Wines first use of the ball. However, with Patrick Cripps, Marc Murphy and Bryce Gibbs around the midfield for the Blues, clean possession won’t come easy.
Both sides rank in the bottom four teams in the league for disposal efficiency, so ball movement will be a key factor in where the game is won and lost. If Carlton is able to transition from defence through the likes of Sam Docherty and Kade Simpson to get clean entries inside fifty, the slightly undersized Power defence may not hold up. If the Power is able to limit the intercept and running games of these half backs, it will go a long way to winning the game. After Docherty picked up a game high 33 disposals the last time these teams met, Ken Hinkley will be wary of him and a defensive forward may loom as a possibility, with Sam Gray the likely man for the job.
Carlton has had the wood over the Power on the previous few occasions, with Port not having tasted success against the Blues since the 2014 season where they defeated them twice, including by 103 points in their one meeting at the Adelaide Oval. As this shows, these games against the lower ranked teams have killed the Power’s finals chances the last two seasons. The Power will be out to make amends, especially after coming up short despite playing some good football at times in the last two weeks.
Past Five Meetings
R8, 2016, Carlton 14.9 (93) d Port Adelaide 13.13 (91) at Etihad Stadium
R12, 2015, Carlton 17.8 (110) d Port Adelaide 16.10 (106) at the MCG
R22, 2014, Port Adelaide 20.20 (140) d Carlton 5.7 (37) at Adelaide Oval
R1, 2014, Port Adelaide 18.12 (120) d Carlton 12.15 (87) at Etihad Stadium
R23, 2013, Carlton 15.14 (104) d Port Adelaide 15.13 (103) at AAMI Stadium
B: D.Byrne-Jones, T.Clurey, D.Houston
HB: M.Broadbent, T.Jonas, H.Hartlett
C: B.Ebert, O.Wines, J.Polec
HF: R.Gray, J.Westhoff, C.Wingard
F: S.Gray, C.Dixon, J.Trengove
FOL: P.Ryder, T.Boak, S.Powell-Pepper
I/C: A.Young, K.Amon, J.Impey, J.Pittard
EMG: B.Eddy, A.Johnson, B.Ah Chee
OUT: M.White (omitted)
B: T.Williamson, C.Marchbank, L.Plowman
HB: S.Docherty, S.Rowe, K.Simpson
C: E.Curnow, P.Cripps, C.Polson
HF: J.Pickett, L.Casboult, C.Curnow
F: J.Silvagni, J.Weitering, M.Wright
FOL: A.Phillips, B.Gibbs, M.Murphy
I/C: Z.Fisher, S.Petrevski-Seton, H.Macreadie, S.White
EMG: D.Armfield, S.Kerridge, D.Cuningham
IN: A.Phillips, C.Polson
OUT: D.Thomas, M.Kreuzer (both soreness)
This match-up has the possibility of going either way, with the Power stalling a bit after a good start to the year while Carlton have been good in patches. The main worry for Carlton fans is Port Adelaide average over 100 points a game while they average just 73. This makes it is very hard to work out how they will be able to kick a winning score.
Predicted result: Power by 24.
Will Carlton find a way, or will Port prove too strong? Share your thoughts below.