"YOU can play a tune on black keys, you can play a tune on white keys, but both are needed for perfect harmony."

- Sir Doug Nicholls

Everyone is looking for perfection with Port Adelaide. Such is the burden of high expectation at a club that boldly declares it is chasing greatness.

On Sunday, the perfect 11-0 start captain Tom Jonas wanted for his invincible season will be marked with an 8-3 win-loss count should Port Adelaide beat the emerging Fremantle at Adelaide Oval from 4.50pm (new start time).

Not a bad strike rate ...

It would make for a solid first half to the 22-game AFL home-and-away series of a season that seems set up for an exceptional finish, particularly for a team that builds its team and form to peak in September.

Port Adelaide certainly has its best still to come.

10:13 Mins
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Ken Hinkley press conference - 29 May 2021 | PTV

Ken Hinkley speaks to the media from Saturday's Captain's Run at Adelaide Oval.

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"We will get better as the season improves," said coach Ken Hinkley at the captain's run at Adelaide Oval on Saturday morning. "It is not a bad spot to be at (7-3) but we have been a good side ... not a great side."

That perfect harmony Pastor Doug Nicholls imagined in Australian society remains a goal - one that is appreciated more with each AFL Indigenous Round that honours his name.

That perfect harmony every Port Adelaide fan imagines unfolding on the football field remains the objective for a team chasing greatness.

"It is a challenge to close that gap (between good and great)," adds Hinkley. "We look at the sides that have done it in the past - Richmond is a perfect example of being able to do it and it took them a while. Once they got there, they have been able to stay there for a good period of time.

"That is what we are trying to do in a pretty tough competition."

So will Port Adelaide's midfield win the contests, a key barometer to the team's form? Will the three talls - Charlie Dixon, Todd Marshall and Mitch Georgiades - combine and fire to rattle the Fremantle defence as they did with their seven-goal haul against Adelaide in Showdown LXIX?

How does inexperienced ruckman Peter Ladhams, after his second-half surge against Collingwood maestro Brodie Grundy, work against Sean Darcy?

Will Port Adelaide make a fast or false start?

Can Port Adelaide's defence again set up the creative drive to open space to unravel Fremantle's defensive systems?

Sometimes a piano is an easier landscape to work than a football field.

Port Adelaide's midfield will be challenged - and measured - by a Fremantle engine room with two high-class midfielders in Brownlow Medallist Nat Fyfe and the vastly experienced David Mundy, who go head-to-head in setting up the contest with Ollie Wines and former captain Travis Boak.

Then the depth test comes with Port Adelaide needing to counter Adam Cerra, Angus Brayshaw, Caleb Serong and Michael Walters.

Dual Brownlow Medallist, Nat Fyfe leads a troop of danger men that Port Adelaide will need to contain to claim victory against the Dockers.

It might be the moment that sparks a form revival in Connor Rozee who is to be handed more midfield minutes this weekend.

"It is well documented that Connor Rozee has been finding it difficult as a forward," Midfield coach Jarrad Schofield said. "We will bring him into the game, so we will see him around the footy. And when he is on, he is on. He is electrifying for us around the footy."

It certainly cannot have another game with a heavy reliance on Wines and Boak.

"Ollie Wines has been fantastic, Travis Boak has been fantastic for us," Schofield said. 

"Fremantle is a team that likes to flick the ball around and they have some clean ball users and big bodies around the footy, so we have to make sure we share the load. 

"We have young fellas like Willem Drew who are all playing a role and we need to make sure that we share the load and everyone steps up. There are players who were down - by their own admission - but they have had pretty good years to date. 

"We will look to inject a little bit of speed around the ball. We will have a good mix."

Port Adelaide-Fremantle clashes from 2012-2019 - the Ross Lyon era with the "Purple Haze" - went 8-6 in the Dockers' favour, with strong defensive systems in Perth games denying critical time and space to Port Adelaide's running crew.

Port Adelaide has won all five matches against Fremantle at Adelaide Oval.

Schofield expects much of the Ross Lyon playbook to still apply during the second year of senior coach Justin Longmuir's tenure.

"They are different in some ways ...," says Schofield.

"Their pressure has not changed. Ross Lyon had them well structured behind the ball defensively and Justin Longmuir has brought that from Collingwood. 

"Their ability to use their hands around the football is up there with the Western Bulldogs and Richmond. And they have some speed on the floor. We have some real challenges. But we know if we bring our game - the Port Adelaide way - we can match them. And being at home we'd like to think we can get the crowd involved and generate that atmosphere for us."


(the little stuff that counts most)

Port Adelaide v Fremantle

When: Sunday, May 30, 2021

Time: 4.50pm

Where: Adelaide Oval

Last time: Port Adelaide 10.10 (70) d Fremantle 6.5 (41) at the Gold Coast, round 3, June 21 last year

Overall: Port Adelaide 21, Fremantle 17

Past five games: From the most recent, W W L L W

Scoring average: Port Adelaide 93, Fremantle 87

Tightest margin: Port Adelaide by seven points at the WACA Ground in round 17, 1999; Fremantle by seven points at Subiaco Oval in round 1, 2015

Biggest margin: Port Adelaide by 92 points (163-71) at Subiaco Oval, Perth in round 14, 2001; Fremantle by 79 points (151-72) at Subiaco Oval, Perth in round 22, 2006

By venues - Adelaide Oval (Port Adelaide 5-0), Football Park (7-5), Subiaco Oval (7-9), WACA Ground (1-1), Perth Stadium (0-2), Metricon Stadium (1-0).

By States - South Australia (Port Adelaide 12-5); Western Australia (Fremantle 12-8); Queensland (Port Adelaide 1-0).