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Enemy Analysis: Port Adelaide

Josh Gabelich  July 28, 2017 8:55 AM

Port Adelaide ruckman Paddy Ryder has been a star this season after missing 2016.

Port Adelaide ruckman Paddy Ryder has been a star this season after missing 2016.

Media Watch

‘Third bridge’ too far for Power
The Advertiser, Michelangelo Rucci
July 25

PORT Adelaide defender Tom Jonas calls crossing the “Third Bridge” at Alberton a mental challenge. But the inability to string three wins or more may simply prove the Power is overstated as an AFL contender.

Port Adelaide has not won more than two consecutive games since the end of 2015.

Four times this season the Power has chalked up two wins — and then failed on that “third bridge”, the latest slip-up to Melbourne on Saturday costing Port Adelaide fourth spot.

The question haunting Port: are they the real deal?
The Australian, AAP
July 27

Defender Tom Jonas says the question will linger even if Port Adelaide bank a home win against St Kilda: are they the real deal?

Jonas says “it’s going to be two or three weeks down the track” before even Port know the answer. After hosting the Saints, the fifth-placed Power meet ladder leaders Adelaide, Collingwood and Western Bulldogs in the run to the finals.

“Ultimately we do feel like our game plan holds up and we do play some very strong footy,” Jonas said. “Early in the year we lost games to quality opposition off the back of poor goalkicking or by very small margins. So we feel like in big games our game style does stand up.”

Jonas, who will play his 100th AFL game against the Saints, has bookended a superb Port defence this season which has conceded the fewest points of any club.

Up to month out for Wingard
The Advertiser, Michelangelo Rucci
July 25

PORT Adelaide notes the class of midfielder Chad Wingard cannot be replaced - but the Power will have to minimise the loss for the next month.

Wingard’s - and the AFL club’s - worst fears were confirmed on Tuesday with a specialist judging the All-Australian’s left-ankle injury as requiring as long as a month on the sidelines.

Scans revealed a “high sprain” suffered in the third term of the 23-point loss to Melbourne at the MCG on Saturday. This puts Wingard out of Saturday’s home clash with St Kilda and Showdown 43 against the top-ranked Crows on Sunday week.

If the injury lingers, as expected, to four weeks, Wingard also will miss the home clash with Collingwood in Round 21 and AFL premiers Western Bulldogs at Ballarat.

Power head physiotherapist Tim McGrath is not ready to declare when Wingard will be able to return to running drills.

Medical Report

Chad Wingard (ankle) 3-4 weeks
Todd Marshall (concussion) test

Fresh Face

Game-breaking midfielder Sam Powell-Pepper has burst onto the AFL landscape this season and is one of the favourites for the NAB AFL Rising Star Award. After being selected with pick No. 18 last November, the West Australian has played every game in his debut season, averaging 18.1 possessions (8.9 contested) and 3.0 clearances.

Star

Despite establishing himself as one of the competitions more damaging midfielders in the last four or five years, Port Adelaide star Robbie Gray has spent more time inside 50 this year where his impact has been profound. The three-time Power best and fairest winner has booted 40.23 from 17 games this year and last weekend collected 31 disposals and nine clearances against the Demons after spending more time higher up the ground. The dual All-Australian is on track for another team of the year selection and is set to provide Alan Richardson with a few headaches this weekend.

Stats that matter

The return of Paddy Ryder has made an enormous impact at Alberton this season. The star ruckman has led the Power to be ranked No. 1 for points from stoppages (41.5), points from centre bounces (14.8) and scores from clearance differential (+15.2), as well as No. 2 for clearances differential (+3.4) and No. 4 for hitouts differential (+6.8).

Team

B: M. Broadbent, T. Clurey, J. Hombsch
HB: D. Byrne-Jones, T. Jonas, H. Hartlett
C: B. Ebert, O. Wines, J. Polec
HF: S. Gray, J. Trengove, S. Powell-Pepper
F: A. Young, C. Dixon, J. Westhoff
R: P. Ryder, R. Gray, T. Boak
Interchange: K. Impey, K. Amon, M. White, J. Pittard
Emergencies: D. Houston, J. Neade, B. Ah Chee

IN: K. Amon, J. Hombsch, J. Pittard, A. Young
OUT: J. Atley (omitted), L. Austin (omitted), D. Houston (omitted), C. Wingard (ankle)