Port Adelaide host a St. Kilda side struggling mightily of late, but must be on their game to avoid a repeat of last season.
Heading into this round 6 clash with St. Kilda, Port Adelaide are seen as favourites and rightly so. But as we have seen in years gone by, when Port are expected to win they lay an egg at the most inopportune time. Port seem better equipped this season to handle the pressure of being one of the so called “favourties”. But with the Saints it is hard to get a read on them. Touted as a lock for top four in the preseason, they have severely underwhelmed.
The 86 point spanking that the Tigers handed them was a little eyebrow-raising and in truth were probably lucky to overrun the Eagles, but they did. Then you have the 12 goal loss to Essendon, the three goal loss to the Demons and their stirring win on round 1 against the Giants. So it does not exactly spell top four side, but when they do get going, like we saw against the Eagles, they can be tough to stop.
Team news will be interesting
So make no mistake this will be a tricky proposition for Port. The team news won’t drop until tonight so it is difficult to get a read on who will come in. On Port Adelaide’s official site Kane Farrell, Jarrod Lienert, Peter Ladhams, Sam Powell-Pepper and Tom Rockliff are all listed as out for the Magpies clash with Glenelg tonight so the smart money will be some of them to come into the side. Ken Hinkley said this morning that Martin Frederick will be making his debut on Sunday which is great.
Dan Houston will be tested at training today but given that it is only round 6 is it necessary to take a risk so early on? Hinkley also said this morning that he is confident Hamish Hartlett will take his place in the side after his corked thigh but will have some tests to get through.
On Paper Port Adelaide should be winning this game. Better players, better gameplan and in better form. However as we know games are not won on paper and that was evident last season when the Saints strolled into Adelaide Oval and took home the four points.
If Port are genuine challengers to Richmond, despite the injuries this is a game they should win and looking ahead, a win over the Saints could be vital. In the next four weeks Port are away to Brisbane, have the showdown, the Western Bulldogs at home and then Collingwood at the MCG.
None of those games are a certainty so a win on Sunday night would propel Port to 5-1 with a tough run coming up. It feels like a chance to make a statement against the Saints. They will be coming out breathing fire to atone for their embarrassing loss to Richmond and if Port can get away to a good start at home, then it could be a long night for the Saints.
Brett Ratten stated midweek that key duo Rowan Marshall and Zak Jones are in line to return so that strengthens their side, but Port should still have too much for St. Kilda.
It is a game Port Adelaide should be winning. At home against a side that has struggled all season, but nothing can be taken for granted in the AFL this year. Ken Hinkley’s men should get the job done and move to 5-1 on the season.
Port Adelaide by 25 points.