Fri, Aug 23, 9:47am by Clarinda Campbell
The fourth-placed Dockers are in good form of late and meet a Port Adelaide side playing to hold on to a spot in the finals. It’s a home game for the Dockers and the Power have won four of their last five, so it makes for an intriguing fixture. The Dockers haven’t been tested in recent weeks against the Giants or Demons, and they will be keen to get stuck in here to prepare themselves for the hard matches they will face in September. I predict the Purple Haze to win and here’s the guide to their victory.
Fremantle has dominated recent contests between the two teams, winning the last five straight against Port Adelaide. The Power has not beaten the Dockers since Round 11, 2009. Add to that, Port Adelaide has lost five of its last six matches at Patersons Stadium. If you wanted a little more to add to that, the Dockers coach has a good record against Port Adelaide, winning five of eight games, including three by more than 50 points.
The last time these two sides met, the Dockers were clinical in their 27-point defeat of the Power.
We all know how good the Dockers’ defence is. It’s the key area that defines their team. They are the best defensive side in the competition and make it very hard for teams to score points. They concede just 67 points on average per game. That’s just 11 goals.
Unfortunately for Fremantle, it loses ruck-man Aaron Sandilands. Many thought that forward Hayden Ballantyne would also miss the match through injury but he has been named to take his spot.
Port Adelaide’s midfielders Brad Ebert and Travis Boak will provide good ball carry through the middle of the ground. However, Port has lost Hamish Hartlett to suspension and this will be a heavy loss to the Power’s midfield. The Power also lose one of their forwards, Cameron Hitchcock, to injury.
With the announcement of the team lists, it is noted that Freo have elected to place their prolific tagger, Ryan Crowley, on Travis Boak. Crowley is very effective at shutting down the game of whichever player he marks. If he shuts down Boak, he will shut down a prong of the Power attack.
Fremantle fields the top five players on the list of best players in the last five games between these two teams. Two of those top five are playing in this match (Duffield and Barlow) and are ranked one and two respectively.
For Port Adelaide to be any chance it needs to be precise. The Dockers are brilliant at forcing teams in to turnovers and are one of the best at capitalising on them.
The weather is expected to be wet in Perth and this will suit the Dockers. Wet weather footy affects precision and the game becomes tough and hard at ground-level. Contested ball suits the Dockers because it allows them to force turnovers. Their match fitness is second to none so they can play out the match to the very last siren and push the Power to the limit.
Fremantle has opened up as very short favourites ($1.17) so I won’t be recommending a bet in the head to head market as the odds are so scant. The bet that appeals to me is the margin market. Fremantle to win by 1-39 is currently $2.25 with Centrebet.
The Dockers have opened shorter to win by 40+ but if the game is played in wet conditions, this will limit the scoring opportunities and the game will be won on defence.
Matthew Pavlich is really coming into his own in recent weeks and he is $6.50 to be the first goal scorer for the home team. Michael Barlow is $14.00 and worth a rough bet as he is a proven performer against Port.
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