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Friday Microscope: Round 19 v Port Adelaide

Josh Gabelich  July 28, 2017 5:15 PM

St Kilda Captain Jarryn Geary will play a key role nullifying Port Adelaide's attacking weapons on Saturday.

St Kilda Captain Jarryn Geary will play a key role nullifying Port Adelaide's attacking weapons on Saturday.

Turn off the Power, reignite season inside cauldron

While St Kilda’s finals fate doesn’t rest on a win at Adelaide Oval this Saturday, the Saints chances are slipping by the week. With only one win separating St Kilda and Port Adelaide, this weekend’s game is an old fashioned eight-pointer. Win and remain amongst it. Lose and fall behind the chasing pack. And you could throw a blanket over the chasing pack. Essendon, West Coast and the Western Bulldogs are all level on the same points as the Saints, but all sit above on percentage. St Kilda’s record inside South Australia’s sporting epicentre isn’t too pretty either. Since the ground was redeveloped and began hosting AFL in 2014, St Kilda has lost on all seven visits to the venue, including five by greater than 50 points. While the odds are stacked against St Kilda, a win against the odds, inside the Portress, would reignite a season that is flickering.

White gets another opportunity at the big time

It’s been a long time between drinks for rebounding defender Brandon White. After making his debut in the final round of last season, the rebounding defender has had to bide his time in the VFL and wait for another opportunity to arise. That opportunity has emerged this week with Leigh Montagna’s hamstring injury opening the door for the opportunity starved second-year defender. With Shane Savage returning in recent weeks and Daniel McKenzie earning an opportunity on a handful of occasions, White has finally been rewarded for his positive form at Sandringham this season. The 20-year-old has played 14 games for the Zebras this season and after collecting 23 disposals in his last start, the Saints have pulled the trigger on the youngster with the trigger foot. What a place to add some AFL experience.

Recalled Weller returns in form

Alan Richardson and the match committee at Linen House Centre have found success this season in dropping underperforming senior players and bringing them back with a new spring in their step. Can this prove to be the case again for Mav Weller? The Tasmanian was left out of the side after Round 15 and stamped his papers for a return after gathering 28 disposals, five tackles and two goals in the Zebras win over Geelong last Saturday. Josh Bruce, Jack Sinclair, Jack Steele and Luke Dunstan have all returned in form from stints in the VFL this season in a shrewd coaching manoeuvre. Mobile key forward Tim Membrey also returns after serving a two-week suspension for striking Richmond’s Dylan Grimes. With Nick Riewoldt and Paddy McCartin unavailable, Membrey will shoulder plenty of the load at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday. Despite missing the last fortnight, Membrey exited the game in stellar form, booting five goals against the Tigers in Round 16.

Where to switch the Power off

Ken Hinkley’s decision to move superstar midfielder Robbie Gray into a more permanent forward role and the form of Charlie Dixon this season has helped springboard the Power into one of the best scoring teams in the competition. Port Adelaide is ranked No. 2 for points for this season, averaging 101.8 points up from a ranking of No. 7 in 2016, on the back of Gray’s haul of 40.23 and Dixon’s 34.20. While dual All-Australian Chad Wingard has moved into a midfield role this year, he won’t be out there on Saturday after injuring his ankle in the loss to Melbourne last weekend. Sam Gray (19 goals) and Rising Star contender and first-year sensation Sam Powell-Pepper (16 goals) have also been damaging inside 50 this year. Alan Richardson and the coaching staff at Linen House Centre would have dedicated plenty of time this week working out ways to prevent the Power from inflicting pain on the scoreboard.