Where and When: AAMI Stadium, Friday, March 7, 7:10 ACST
Melbourne and Port Adelaide will come together for their last NAB cup clash as both teams look to gear up before round one.
Both sides will be bringing relatively full squads as this is the last opportunity to get match practice into senior players for the season proper.
Melbourne is coming off an 80-point thrashing at the hands of Hawthorn and will hope to turn that around and take winning form into round one.
Port Adelaide fared better, downing Fremantle by 20 points, and although it was only NAB Cup, Port were showing good signs which they will want to replicate this week.
What Port Adelaide will want to see:
Port shot out of the blocks last week and will look to do so again this week, however they will not want a repeat of their last quarter fade out.
The Power have brought a strong forward line to the game including Jay Schultz who was impressive last week with three goals as well as Justin Westhoff and last year’s breakout star John Butcher.
There may not be room for all of them and this game may well decide who plays round one.
There were promising signs last week from a few of their new recruits, most notably former Magpie John McCarthy, who played a major role in the midfield. He was accompanied by ruckman Jarrad Redden who was great around the ground and looks to have matured into his body.
Hopefully these two, as well as other younger and fringe players will step up and help support the likes of Travis Boak, Robbie Gray and Domenic Cassisi, who perform week-in week-out.
What Melbourne will want to see:
It’s not an encouraging sign when coach Mark Neeld says that he couldn’t pencil in many names for round one after an 80-point demolition, but luckily for Melbourne they have one more week to redeem themselves.
Another problem Neeld has is missed tackles, the Demons really need to return to the pressure they showed the week before when they beat Collingwood if they want to be competitive.
With Port’s tall forward line, Melbourne’s defence will need to stand up, the likes of James Frawley and new recruit James Seller cannot let through the amount of goals they did last week.
The most important thing that Melbourne will want to take from this game is no injuries, with Neville Jetta’s ankle injury relegating him to a list that already includes Jack Grimes, Luke Tapscott and Jake Spencer, Melbourne will be happy to leave with a clean bill of health.
Port has shown quite consistent form throughout the NAB Cup and are unlucky not to be in the final. The game will be close, however it will be played with little intensity compared to the other NAB Cup Challenge contests.
As a result it will depend what Melbourne side turns up, the determined side that beat Collingwood or the insipid one that faced Hawthorn last week. Unfortunately for Port Adelaide I think Melbourne will bounce back.
Melbourne by 14pts
1. Domenic Cassisi, 3. Steven Salopek, 4. Brent Renouf, 5. Matthew Broadbent, 6. Danyle Pearce, 7. Brad Ebert, 9. Jacob Surjan, 10. Travis Boak, 12. Jackson Trengove, 13. Cameron O’Shea, 14. Paul Stewart, 15. David Rodan, 16. Ben Jacobs, 17. Robbie Gray, 18. Kane Cornes, 20. Chad Wingard, 21. Matthew Thomas, 27. Alipate Carlile, 28. Jay Schulz, 30. Troy Chaplin, 31. Darren Pfeiffer, 32. John Butcher, 34. Jarrad Redden, 35. John McCarthy, 39. Justin Westhoff, 40. Aaron Young, 42. Thomas Jonas, 43. Daniel Stewart, 44. Tom Logan
2. Nathan Jones, 3. Clint Bartram, 6. Matthew Bate, 7. Jamie Bennell, 8. James Frawley, 9. Jack Trengove, 11. Mitch Clark, 12. Colin Sylvia, 13. Jordie McKenzie, 14. Lynden Dunn, 15. Ricky Petterd, 17. Sam Blease, 18. Brad Green, 20. Colin Garland, 22. Brent Moloney, 25. Tom McDonald, 27. Jared Rivers, 28. Joel MacDonald, 34. Stefan Martin, 36. Aaron Davey, 38. Jeremy Howe, 40. Mark Jamar, 41. Troy Davis, 46. Josh Tynan, 47. Tom Couch
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