Fri, Mar 25, 1:36pm by Kevin Pitstock
When and Where:
2.10pm at Etihad Stadium
Collingwood – 10
Port Adelaide – 9
Draws – 0
Last Time They Met:
Collingwood 16.9 (105) defeated Port Adelaide 12.7 (79), round 15 2010 at AAMI Stadium
Dane Swan was incredibly unfortunate not to win the 2010 Brownlow Medal. The star midfielder finished third behind Chris Judd and Gary Ablett, despite gathering the most number of disposals of any player for the entire season. However the 27-year-old is back and better than ever in 2011. Swan signed a new deal with Pies during the week – meaning new club Greater Western Sydney can’t poach him at the end of this season. Swan is an elite ball magnet and still has plenty to offer the Pies, particularly against the Power today.
For so long, Robbie Gray has promised a breakout season, but he is still yet to deliver. The 22-year-old has struggled to find consistency over his 46-game career, mainly due to annoying injuries. But Gray has had a relatively uninterrupted pre-season and is set for a big 2011. Where he plays will be most interesting, because he has the aerobic capacity to play in the midfield, but also has the goal sense to play forward – emphasised by his five-goal performance against the Crows late last season. Will this be Gray’s year? A solid performance today might be a good kick-start.
Collingwood – Chris Tarrant (30, Fremantle), Andrew Krakouer (28, Swan Districts) and Simon Buckley (23, Melbourne)
Port Adelaide – Jarrad Irons (18, Perth), Jasper Pittard (19, Geelong Falcons) and Cameron O’Shea (19, Eastern Ranges)
Collingwood has already announced it will take no one lightly in 2011 – a scary proposition for every not involved with the Pies.
After their successful 2010 campaign, the Pies are desperate to go back-to-back in 2011, highlighted by their brilliant NAB Cup campaign, which culminated with a Grand Final win over Essendon. Pies fans would’ve been thrilled to see the likes of Leon Davis and Heath Shaw venture out of their comfort zones and perform so well in positions they aren’t accustomed too.
All eyes today will be on the three new players selected in the team: Tarrant, Krakouer and Buckley. Tarrant should be a regular in the side this season, especially now after Nathan Brown’s unfortunate season-ending knee injury. Buckley will be keen to cement his spot in the side with an impressive performance today as well. While Krakouer is quite possibly already the footy story of the year, returning to play AFL after spending time in gaol and then producing a season to die for in the WAFL last season.
It’s hard to predict how the Power will go this season, especially if you purely look at their pre-season form. They were super inconsistent, suffering heavy losses to Adelaide, Melbourne and Richmond, then annihilating Geelong (84 points) and Greater Western Sydney (95 points) in their remaining NAB Challenge matches.
On paper, Port Adelaide’s midfield is excellent with Kane Cornes, Domenic Cassisi, Danyle Pearce, Steven Salopek and David Rodan. And with young kids Hamish Hartlett, Travis Boak and Jasper Pittard coming through, the future looks promising. But with Warren Tredrea retired and Daniel Motlop not far behind, the Power need to find new avenues to goal.
Collingwood is warm flag favourites, while a few tipsters are predicting Port Adelaide to finish on the bottom of the ladder – enough said. Expect a lopsided first verses 17th style scoreboard at Etihad Stadium today.
Suggested Head-To-Head Bet:
Collingwood by 40+ ($1.67 – Centrebet)
Other Suggested Bets:
Most Disposals Group A – Dane Swans ($2.40 – Sportingbet)
Also Sportingbet Australia is doing a first goal scorer special on the AFL, on top of the usual first goal scorer payout. If your first goal scorer bet scores the second goal, the guys at Sportingbet will pay you out as well! If he kicks the first two, they will pay you double! Get on!
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