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AFL preview: Round 21 vs West Coast

Loukas Founten  August 10, 2018 4:59 PM

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MAY 5: Dan Houston of the Power handpasses the ball during the 2018 AFL round seven match between the West Coast Eagles and the Port Adelaide Power at Optus Stadium on May 5, 2018 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Media)

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MAY 5: Dan Houston of the Power handpasses the ball during the 2018 AFL round seven match between the West Coast Eagles and the Port Adelaide Power at Optus Stadium on May 5, 2018 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Media)

PORT ADELAIDE will face one of the two teams it has yet to beat at Adelaide Oval when it comes up against West Coast on Saturday afternoon. 

The Eagles have won six of their eight games at Adelaide Oval, and all four against the Power, including last year’s epic elimination final. 

West Coast has won five of the last six meetings between the sides but the Power holds the overall advantage with 18 wins from 33 games. 

Traditionally matches featuring the sides are close, with six of the last eight games decided by 14 points or less. 

The game will pit two of the league’s top-five defensive teams up against each other. The Power is the second stingiest defence, conceding just 71 points per game while the Eagles rank fifth with 74.7. 

The dramatic elimination final in 2017 saw the highest Adelaide Oval attendance to watch these teams (41,172). The last match between the sides saw the highest ever attendance at any venue when 50,516 people attended Optus Stadium in Perth. 

The teams

Port Adelaide has made three changes to the side which lost to Adelaide in the Showdown last Saturday. 

Defenders Riley Bonner and Jack Hombsch have been omitted along with midfielder Sam Powell-Pepper. 

Into the side come small forwards Sam Gray and Aidyn Johnson while defender Dougal Howard has recovered from a broken hand and will play his first game in three weeks. 

Lindsay Thomas, Will Snelling, Hombsch and Powell-Pepper are the named emergencies. 

Injury and suspension have forced the Eagles into two changes. 

Andrew Gaff will sit out the rest of the season after copping an eight-week suspension for a behind-the-play hit on Melbourne’s Andrew Brayshaw, while defender Will Schofield is out with a hamstring problem. 

Midfielders Dom Sheed and Brendon Ah Chee come in, with Ah Chee to come up against his old side. 

The last word

Ken Hinkley

“They’re really good at controlling possession when they get it.

“They take lots of marks. They’re a real challenge for any team in the competition.

“They’re a great team, they’re built from defence and away they go.

"There's a battle between breaking that down and getting the results we want.

"We'll always try and get something a bit different if it's not working, because it'd be foolish to stay in the same space."

Adam Simpson

"Every time we go to Adelaide Oval, there's good memories. You can't say that about every ground.

"At their best, they're (Port) as good as anyone. With the talent they've brought in this year they're obviously on a mission themselves.

"They're pretty tough, they're a hard, contested football team and they've got some high-end talent as well.

"It's going to be a bit of a battle.

“How do we win without Gaff? How do we win without Naitanui? How do we win without JK?

"There's a squad mentality amongst our players. I think every club is the same. Every club has injuries.

"We've got a couple of injuries and one big suspension we've got to deal with.

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