LET'S get into the Olympic spirit. Citius, altius, fortius ... faster, higher, stronger - and the new emphasis on strength is of the mind more so than the body.
Tokyo 2020 (in 2021) has highlighted the power of mindset, from the burden of expectation on USA gymnast Simone Biles and Australian basketball star Liz Cambage to Australian canoeist Jessica Fox.
From disappointment of not fulfilling ambition in one race to Olympic fame in another - all across a matter of days - Fox, the much-admired hero of Australian sport, highlighted the difference between "stress" and "pressure". In her case, Fox's ability to conquer the need for a significant change in mindset advanced her Olympic status from bronze medalist to gold.
Stress creates chokes. Pressure, as many Svengali coaches have repeatedly noted, builds diamonds - and winners.
No-one needs to remind Port Adelaide of the difference after all it endured from 2001-2003 before the mindset at Alberton accepted the challenge to overcome the pressure of winning an AFL premiership in 2004 - rather than the stress of living up to expectation.
No wonder some athletes and teams prefer to be underdogs.
For the second consecutive week, Port Adelaide has a shift in match location and timeslot. This round 20 clash moves from south-east Queensland to Marvel Stadium in west Melbourne's Docklands - giving Port Adelaide three games in a row at the inner city arena.
It is the first Port Adelaide-GWS match at the venue.
For the second consecutive week - of what is to be a three-week storyline - Port Adelaide is to play a recently fallen AFL grand finalist that has struggled to deal with the stress of expectation.
Last week it was 2018 runner-up Collingwood; this weekend, 2019 losing grand finalist Greater Western Sydney and next week the 50th Showdown against 2017 grand finalist Adelaide.
Like Adelaide, GWS went into a spiral of torment from its grand final horror story with Richmond to miss the top-eight finals last season. But, despite self-described erratic form for an 8-9-1 win-loss-draw count and a sub-par percentage of 96.6, the AFL's most-recent entry was holding eighth spot at the end of round 19.
During the past month, when GWS has been forced out of the lockdown city of Sydney, the Giants have beaten league pacesetter Melbourne (by nine points), lost by a point to non-contender Gold Coast, stumbled to a 26-point loss to Sydney after a flying six-goal start in a bizarre derby moved to Queensland and last week proven itself better than another erratic would-be finalist, Essendon.
Not all the issues that have led to this inconsistency - such as COVID-forced moves to Melbourne and then the Gold Coast, plus isolation for players such as gamebreaker Toby Greene - have been within Greater Western Sydney's control.
Stressful it has been for all, including Port Adelaide that has appeared to thrive under the pressure of leaving home base at Alberton to set up camp outside the MCG in Melbourne with training sessions at Punt Road Oval, Richmond.
“We’re really embracing it,” says Port Adelaide lead ruckman Scott Lycett of the team's mindset. "You adapt. We have won a lot of games in the past year and a half (while in hub settings).
"Our focus is to finish the home-and-away in the top four. It is not on COVID and all the things we have to adapt to. It is about looking to the future."
The immediate is a major challenge at the contest - the true barometer of Port Adelaide this season - against a GWS line-up that regains acting captain Toby Greene from isolation along with midfield checker Matt de Boer. And in de Boer's absence GWS coach Leon Cameron found another shadow, Lachie Ash, who could be handed the challenge of quelling Port Adelaide vice-captain and midfield powerhouse Ollie Wines.
"Lachie came to us as a half-back flanker, but he's got such a big motor and great speed, repeat speed that he is a powerful player," said Cameron of the 20-year-old who was the No. 4 pick in the 2019 AFL national draft and wears the No.7 jumper.
The pressure to win the ball in the contest puts greater focus on Port Adelaide's ability to be efficient - rather than just productive - with inside-50 entries.
Port Adelaide will benefit from the presence of Connor Rozee and Zak Butters for the second consecutive game after their short stint on the injury list with knee injuries - and the return this week of goalkicking specialist Orazio Fantasia for his first match since knee surgery after the round 11 clash with Fremantle on May 30.
More than a year has passed since Port Adelaide played Greater Western Sydney - on a fly and run mission to the Gold Coast - with Ken Hinkley's team under pressure to answer big questions posed by a midfield collapse against Brisbane at the Gabba.
Port Adelaide, after taking heavy hits in the third term, produced a defining 17-point win built on winning the contested possessions 131-129 and the clearances 41-25 with Sam Powell-Pepper savouring the pressure.
Mindset ... it defines Olympic champions and football results.
(the little stuff that counts most)
Greater Western Sydney v Port Adelaide
Where: Marvel Stadium, Docklands west Melbourne
When: Sunday, August 1, 2021
Time: 5.40pm (SA time)
Last time: Port Adelaide 9.9 (63) d GWS 6.10 (46) at Metricon Stadium, round 6, July 12, last year
Overall: Port Adelaide 5, GWS 6
Past five games (most recent first): W L L L L
Scoring average: Port Adelaide 87 points, GWS 86
Tightest margin - Port Adelaide by 17 points (63-46) at at Metricon Stadium, round 6, July 12, last year; GWS by one point (56-55) at Adelaide Oval, round 19, July 27, 2019
Biggest margin - Port Adelaide by 75 points (125-50) at the Sydney Showgrounds, round 12, June 16, 2013; GWS by 86 points (151-65) at Manuka Oval, Canberra, round 4, April 17, 2016
By venues - Adelaide Oval, Port Adelaide 1-3; Football Park, 1-0; Sydney Showgrounds, 1-1; Manuka Oval, 1-2; Metricon Stadium, 1-0.