After four fixture reshuffles across two countries and three different venues, the highly anticipated clash between St Kilda and Port Adelaide will take place this Saturday night at Adelaide Oval.
With the Saints coming off their first win at Adelaide Oval last Monday against the Crows, the red, white and black will be determined to make it two from two at the venue when they face the top-of-the-table Power.
Port Adelaide v St Kilda
Saturday 25 July
Adelaide Oval, 7:40pm EST
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Last time we met…
Port Adelaide 22.7 (139) def. St Kilda 9.15 (69)
The Saints’ landmark clash in China was overshadowed by the final result, with the Power putting the first-time Oriental travellers to the sword by 70 points in the sweltering Shanghai heat.
Skipper Jarryn Geary’s inspiring return from emergency compartmental surgery was undercut by a season-ending broken leg, while a gastro bug resulted in several late changes and forced Ben Paton and Nicholas Hind to fly over as last-minute emergencies.
Rowan Marshall battled hard to rack up 24 hit-outs, 24 disposals and a goal against Scott Lycett and future teammate, Paddy Ryder as the Power overran the Saints convincingly.
Jade Gresham kicked three of the Saints’ nine goals for the afternoon, and was joined through the midfield by Luke Dunstan (25 disposals) and Seb Ross (24).
Conversely, Port Adelaide had no shortage of starring roles.
Travis Boak snared his second Shanghai Medal after a masterful 33-disposal, two -goal display, while Power sensation Robbie Gray was just as fluent with 28 touches and a three-goal bag.
Young Port talents Riley Bonner (19 disposals, three goals), Jarrod Lienert (31 disposals, 11 rebounds) Dan Houston (28 disposals) and Karl Amon (28 disposals, five clearances) also had a field day at Jiangwan Stadium.
Soon-to-be Saint Dougal Howard also delivered damage up forward with two goals and nine marks, one of which was a marvellous Mark of the Year contender.
Moment of the match...
A classy Matty Parker snap around the body and a salute to the Shanghai crowd proved to be one of the few highlights for the Saints across the scorching afternoon.
Round 7 recap…
After 11 attempts, St Kilda recorded its first ever win at Adelaide Oval with a 23-point victory over the Crows on Monday night.
Jack Steele was on another level with 26 disposals (20 contested), 13 clearances and a goal to strong-arm the Saints over the line against their resurgent opposition.
Dougal Howard proved how influential full-backs could be with 16 disposals and a stunning goal on the run from outside 50 to boot, while Nick Coffield (17 disposals) played his best game for the club with several goal-saving efforts.
Up the other end, Dan Butler’s three goals catapulted him into equal-third in the Coleman race, while Zak Jones exploded in the opening term with 10 disposals and five clearances.
The Power took home the chocolates in far more dramatic fashion, with Robbie Gray threading the needle after the siren to hand his side a stunning three-point win over Carlton.
Coleman-leader Charlie Dixon continued his stellar run of form with a match-winning three goal bag, while Darcy Byrne-Jones and six-gamer Peter Ladhams were superb in their respective domains.
Port Adelaide sit a game clear in pole position on the ladder.
The ins and outs...
St Kilda has recalled a speedy trio ahead of its Round 8 fixture against the ladder-leaders, with Jack Sinclair, Matty Parker and Nicholas Hind brought into the senior line-up.
Sinclair has performed particularly well in the club’s scratch matches and has been named as emergency for the Saints’ past seven games.
Josh Battle (injured), Ryan Byrnes and Jack Lonie (omitted) have made way for the returning trio.
Port Adelaide will also bring three fresh faces into Saturday night, with Brad Ebert returning from suspension to give the home side an added jolt.
Riley Bonner and Mitch Georgiades have also been named in the starting 22.
Veteran Justin Westhoff has been omitted, while injuries sustained in last week’s Carlton clash have sidelined Steven Motlop (ankle) and Ryan Burton (quad) for several weeks.
Power-turned-Saints Dougal Howard and Paddy Ryder, meanwhile, will be preparing for a frosty reception from the Port Adelaide faithful in what will be their first game against their old side.
The milestone men...
Fan-favourite Saint Tim Membrey will play his 100th match against the Power, after playing his first career game for Sydney in 2014.
Skunk has kicked 179 goals for the red, white and black and has taken out three club goalkicking awards (2016, 2017, 2019).
The Power’s performers…
Sitting pretty on top of the ladder, Port Adelaide have a wealth of contributors to thank for their sizzling start to Season 2020.
Charlie Dixon has been the most obvious candidate to the Power’s success, leading the Coleman count (15 goals) with Sydney’s Tom Papley and topping the League for contested marks (23).
Only Brisbane have been able to put the clamps on the towering forward this season, with former teammate Dougal Howard the most likely candidate to rein in 29-year-old again.
Former skipper Travis Boak has been incredibly consistent through the midfield, while the evergreen Robbie Gray has continued to bob up around goal at the right moments.
Gray was the architect of the Saints’ 2017 undoing in the final seconds at Adelaide Oval, with the moment – and over-the-head tap from Paddy Ryder – a definitive reminder of his match-winning tendencies.
It’s arguably been Port Adelaide’s rock-solid and aggressive defence which has been its most impressive attribute this season, with the likes of Hamish Hartlett, Tom Jonas, Tom Clurey, Darcy Byrne-Jones and a rejuvenated Trent McKenzkie stifling opposition attacks week on week.
Combined, the Power outfit are first in the League for total points and ensconced in the top-three for clearances and disposals.
On the injury front…
St Kilda will be without Josh Battle after friendly fire in Monday’s match against Adelaide resulted in a minor facial fracture and mild concussion.
The red, white and black also lost developing forward Jack Mayo to an ACL injury, with the young Saint returning to his native Perth for surgery.
Port Adelaide will be without Ryan Burton and Steven Motlop after respective quad and ankle injuries from last week’s after-the-siren win against the Blues.