Today’s game between Collingwood and Port Adelaide once appeared to be a one sided affair, but fate has seen it become one of the more intriguing matches of the round.

Sure, there won’t be many tipping Port, and with good reason, but Collingwood’s form of late is anything but assuring.

Injuries have ravaged the defence that was the benchmark over the past few seasons, forcing inexperienced and possibly unready youngsters into key defensive posts and making the defence look very leaky.

Carlton had their way last week, and it is something Nathan Buckley will have addressed during the week.

Key injuries to Ben Reid, Chris Tarrant, Luke Ball and Heath Shaw in recent weeks have set the club back majorly, and if their replacements take the Power lightly, the media circus may go up yet another notch.

Port Adelaide has been unlucky in their losses to undefeated sides Sydney and Essendon, and has shown genuine signs of improvement early in the year.

Their forward line is quickly becoming one of the more potent attacks in the league, and with the inclusion of Brent Renouf, they can certainly stretch defences for height.

Key Matchups

Scott Pendlebury vs Kane Cornes:

Pendlebury had an awful night last week by his lofty standards, and it is very rare that he puts in two poor games in a row.

Carlton showed that if Pendlebury can be limited the Collingwood midfield’s output drops considerably, so the Power must do everything they can to limit the star Pie.

Travis Cloke vs Jackson Trengove

Although Trengove may not be the matchup Matthew Primus chooses to run with Cloke, he will still remain pivotal in shutting down the Collingwood power forward.

Trengove will have to remain vigilant and provide a third man up in order to help the Power defence to shut down the Collingwood attack.

Nick Maxwell vs the Power Forwards
Maxwell’s strength lies in reading the play on cutting off the forward supply. His task becomes more difficult after the injuries to the key Collingwood personnel.

Maxwell must be perfect with his on field leadership and direction if the Collingwood defence is to limit the Power attack.

Final Say

After seeing Port Adelaide’s performances to start season 2012, it would not be a great surprise to see them challenge Collingwood, particularly after the losses the Pies have suffered to start the year.

However, the Collingwood midfield should still remain too strong for Port’s, and it should be enough to get them home.

Collingwood by 25 points.

B: Harry O’Brien, Lachlan Keeffe, Ben Johnson
HB: Simon Buckley, Nick Maxwell, Tyson Goldsack
C: Dane Swan, Tom Young, Sharrod Wellingham
HF: Jackson Paine, Chris Dawes, Ben Sinclair
F: Dayne Beams, Travis Cloke, Alex Fasolo
Foll: Darren Jolly, Scott Pendlebury, Steele Sidebottom
Int: Martin Clarke, Jarryd Blair, Alan Toovey, Paul Seedsman
Emg: Nathan Brown, Cameron Wood, Kirk Ugle
In: Ben Johnson, Simon Buckley, Jackson Paine, Paul Seedsman, Tom Young
Out: Luke Ball (knee), Ben Reid (quad), Dale Thomas (hamstring), Heath Shaw (hamstring), Cameron Wood (omitted)

B: Jacob Surjan, Alipate Carlile, Jackson Trengove
HB: Ben Jacobs, Troy Chaplin, Danyle Pearce
C: Hamish Hartlett, Domenic Cassisi, Kane Cornes
HF: Travis Boak, Justin Westhoff, Robert Gray
F: John Butcher, Jay Schulz, Chad Wingard
Foll: Brent Renouf, Bradley Ebert, John McCarthy
I/C: Paul Stewart, Matthew Broadbent, Daniel Stewart, Darren Pfeiffer
Emg: Matt Thomas, Simon Phillips, Aaron Young
In: John Butcher, Brent Renouf, Darren Pfeiffer
Out: Matt Thomas, Jarrad Redden (rested), Cameron O’Shea
New: Brent Renouf (Hawthorn), Darren Pfeiffer (Norwood)

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