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AFL Preview: Port Adelaide v Carlton

Lee Gaskin // AFL Media  April 19, 2017 12:05 PM

AFL 2017 Portraits - Port Adelaide

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 9: Paddy Ryder of the Power poses for a photograph during the Port Adelaide Power 2017 official team photo day at Alberton Oval on March 9, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

SUMMARY
After impressive wins over Sydney and Fremantle to start the season, losses to premiership contenders Adelaide and Greater Western Sydney have stalled Port Adelaide’s momentum. The Power was competitive in both of its defeats against sides that will mount strong challenges for the flag before fading in the last quarter. The return of athletic ruckman Patrick Ryder from a one-game suspension will be a valuable addition for the Power's midfielders to get first use of the ball. The rebuilding Carlton held its own with Gold Coast for the first half before being blown away in the third term. The Blues are aiming for three straight wins over the Power, but this is a much improved Port Adelaide side compared to the one that has missed the finals for the past two seasons. 

WHERE AND WHEN: Adelaide Oval, Friday, April 21, 7.20pm ACST

TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide

LAST FIVE TIMES
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 

THE SIX POINTS 
1. Patrick Cripps, Sam Docherty and Bryce Gibbs were the difference for the Blues when they claimed a two-point victory over the Power last year. Cripps had 30 disposals and eight clearances, Docherty had 33 touches and Gibbs had 30 disposals and six clearances. Ollie Wines had 29 disposals for the Power.

2. Both sides have struggled to hit targets when they move the ball this year. Port Adelaide is 15th in effective disposal efficiency at 70.7 per cent, just ahead of Carlton (17th, 70.2 per cent).

3. It’s two wins each since 2014, but Carlton has won five of the past eight contests. There have been some close finishes, with three of the past five decided by less than a goal.

4. Carlton is one of the best tackling sides in 2017, ranked second averaging 76 per game. Port Adelaide hasn’t been as impressive, ranked mid-table with 66.3 per game.

5. Port Adelaide is one win and one loss this year at Adelaide Oval after thrashing Fremantle and losing narrowly to Adelaide in the Showdown. Carlton has played only once at the venue, losing by three figures to the Power late in 2014.

6. Defender Jasper Pittard is just outside the top 100 in the Schick AFL Player Ratings ahead of his 100th game for the Power. Pittard is ranked 105th overall after ending last season at No. 98. He missed the first two games of the season with a hamstring injury.

IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR … Patrick Ryder.
The Power ruckman will be out to make amends after missing last weekend's loss to Greater Western Sydney through suspension. Ryder's athleticism has added another dimension to the Port Adelaide’s midfield and his battle with Blues big man Matthew Kreuzer will be pivotal to the result of the game. 

PREDICTION: Port Adelaide by 16 points.

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