Fri, Sep 12, 4:27pm by Dominic Ciconte
WHAT a mouth-watering clash.
Fremantle ($1.60 with Sportsbet.com.au), which was knocked over by Sydney in a classic qualifying final last week, plays host to a red-hot Port Adelaide ($2.42 with Betfred.com.au) in a sudden death match for a chance to take on the mighty Hawthorn in the preliminary final.
Sportsbet’s Matthew Campbell said the punters were hot for the Power.
“Port Adelaide continues to be best backed to cause an upset, coming in from $2.50 to $2.40 with around 60 per cent of the market share,” Campbell said on League Teams.
“And (The Power are) completely dominating the line betting – it seems that punters think either Port win, or lose by less than 11 points.”
Fremantle has won seven of its past eight games against Port Adelaide, including the past five meetings at Patersons Stadium, but the big out is rascal small forward Hayden Ballantyne.
His loss is a massive blow, and Michael Barlow has been selected, but it’s understood he’s still in a moon boot.
To give punters an idea of Ballantyne’s impact, the Dockers win 65 per cent of the games he plays, but just 32 per cent without him.
They also have a +19 point average differential when the diminutive hard nut is on the forward line – 92 with and 73 without.
The Power absolutely slaughtered Richmond last week to book their date with the Dockers in Perth. And it is going in unchanged, despite Matty White’s broken jaw.
The big match up is the two premier ruckmen Aaron Sandilands and Matthew Lobbe. Both these men are beasts, but Lobbe will have his work cut out for him with the in-form Zac Clarke giving big Sandi a chop out.
That clash could really shape the match – both sides have class midfields and whichever gets first use of the footy should win.
The midfield match up is enough to make any AFL fan drool: Nat Fyfe, Michael Barlow, David Mundy and Lachie Neale versus Travis Boak, Brad Ebert, Kane Cornes and Ollie Wines. Clash of the midfield titans right there.
You know stopper Ryan Crowley is going to Boak and superstar Matthew Pavlich will have to deal with mammoth full back Alipate Carlisle. Both are tantalising match ups that will go a way to deciding who wins this game of football.
Prediction: Fremantle -9.5 ($1.92 with Sportingbet.com.au)
We just give the edge to Fremantle, because of its finals experience, home ground advantage and desire to avenge last year’s grand final loss to the Hawks.
It’s a clash of two contrasting game styles – Port loves to get out and run and score freely, while Freo bases its game on stamping out any opposition offence and working the ball forward through stoppages.
Port won’t mind it a little locked up though, as it is second in clearances this season, averaging 40.3 a game.
But the Dockers have won three of their four finals at Patersons Stadium, while the Power have lost six of nine finals interstate.
We don’t expect that to change here.
Sportsbet.com.au – if your team leads at three quarter time, but goes on to lose, you get your money back up to $100.
Sportingbet.com.au – if your team leads by 24 points at any time during the AFL Finals the bookie will payout immediately on its special 24 point payout market.
We’ve mentioned Ballantyne as the big out and he will be replaced in the Dockers’ side by Nick Suban.
It’s the only change for either side in this one.
“It was in his (Ballantyne’s) best interests that he doesn’t play and hopefully he can recover soon,” Fremantle’s football operations general manager Chris Bond told fremantlefc.com.au.
“(Suban) has played the majority of the year for us in a number of roles, he’s a very versatile player for us.
“He missed with an ankle injury last week but he’s going to play a variety of roles (on Saturday) and we’re looking forward to having him back.
Barlow has been named to play despite being limited by a foot injury this week.
Continuity is key for Port Adelaide.
Matt White has been named in an unchanged Power side, despite his broken jaw.
Coach Ken Hinkley told portadelaidefc.com.au his charges had been in good form.
“We know what we’ve got to do, we’ve been through it recently, and we have team focuses that we need to fix to get the job done,” Hinkley said.
“Freo are a mature side, they know what they want to achieve as a football club and we’ll be doing our very best to make sure that they don’t.”
Round 23: Fremantle 16.9 (105) def Port Adelaide 14.13 (97) at Patersons Stadium
The Dockers were down by 11 points early the third quarter before slamming on nine unanswered goals to build a 38 point lead. Port then kicked five in a row of their own to put a scare up the Dockers. Jay Schulz booted six goals in a losing effort for Port and Robbie Gray had 33 touches, while Lachie Neale played his best game in a purple guernsey, collecting 34 possessions. Ballantyne booted four goals.
Round 8: Port Adelaide 13.16 (94) def Fremantle 11.10 (76) at Adelaide Oval
In a topsy-turvy clash, the Dockers took a five point lead into the last quarter, but Port Adelaide came home like a steam train, running over the top in a brilliant display. Chad Wingard starred for Port with five goals, while Gray was again in everything with 30 possessions. The classy Fyfe had 34 for Freo, Mundy 31 and Neale another 28. Clarke booted three goals.
Lachie Neale – $7 in group A with Sportingbet.com.au
The kid has come of age this season. And it appears he loves to play against Port. 34 touches last time out, 28 in round eight, he’s an accummulator that doesn’t get the attention of the Fyfes, Mundys and Barlows. Look for him to find plenty of the Sherrin in this one. Neale had 31 against the Swans last week and just looks massive value at $7.
Nat Fyfe – $4 in group one with Sportsbet.com.au
Hard to go past the man with the blonde shock. Just an out and out superstar who finds so much of the footy and does so many good things with it. A joy to watch, The reason you put this bet on is just to enhance the viewing experience. Had 29 against the Swans last week and 34 against Port in Round 8. Slap down a little hard earned and watch this jet go about his business
Robbie Gray – $6 in Group one with Sportsbet.com.au
Absolute value here. It’s not often you’d get sixes about Gray these days after his stellar season. Like Neale against Port, Gray loves to stick it up the Purple Haze, having topped the possession tally in both games this season. Had 25 last week against Richmond and is in fine form – is a huge key for Port. If he gets plenty of touches, especially near goal, they can win.
Brad Ebert – $4.50 in group two with Sportsbet.com.au
Ebert has quietly developed himself into a near elite midfielder this season on the back of playing with guns like Boak, Gray and Hartlett. Usually gets the third or fourth best midfielder and is often left to his own devices to chase the ball all over the park. Had 24 against Port in Round 23 and 19 last week against Port, but the group is quite weak and he looks the value here.
With the Aussie Millions coming to an end last week, all eyes turn to the annual US Poker Open at the Aria…
The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation has reported on recent changes that allow Victorian hotels and clubs to provide cashless gaming to their…
A report by the ABC has revealed that dozen of Woolworths pubs are being investigated over claims staff illegally gave free drinks…