WHERE AND WHEN: AAMI Stadium, Saturday May 19, 1.15pm CST
LAST TIME: North Melbourne 21.10 (136) v Port Adelaide 14.7 (91), round 14, 2011 at AAMI Stadium
The life of an AFL coach must be hell. One week you are a media savvy darling, the next you are a haggard mess. Matthew Primus and Brad Scott have had both ends of this strange counterbalance so far this season, and they arguably take center stage to this clash at AAMI stadium.
Whoever walks off the ground at 4:30pm Adelaide time on Saturday afternoon the loser will face major ramifications will. The South Australian media has been baying for Matt Primus’ blood since their lackluster effort against Richmond, suggesting his time as Port coach is up.
Since the win against Geelong, all North Melbourne could muster was an extraordinarily average win over the Gold Coast. Failures and dismal efforts against Sydney, West Coast and now the Western Bulldogs will see the heat be turned up on Brad Scott.
He has told the football world that it is either finals or nothing for North Melbourne. Failure in Adelaide on Saturday will see that slip further away from the Roos, which could have dire consequences on Scott’s term as coach.
WHY SHOULD YOU TUNE IN:
I’ll admit, I don’t overtly understand the heat on Matthew Primus. He has a group of average senior players and a group of promising youngsters but Primus has the Power playing attacking football which has the younger talent in Hamish Hartlett, Chad Wingard, and Matthew Broadbent growing in confidence week by week.
To suggest the Power should focus on saving the game instead of attempting to win is absurd and will only stunt the young talent at their disposal.
Jay Schultz back is a massive plus for Port Adelaide, in which they can with first use from the middle of the ground, exploit North Melbourne’s midfields lack of defensive work rate in the last month and run rampant.
Add Justin Westhoff and John Butcher to the equation and if all tips the Power’s way, they may steal their second win of the season.
Where to start with the Kangaroos? The midfield is the source of all North Melbourne’s problems, losing the contested footy count by 55 against the Dogs with 10 fewer clearances. The average points against North Melbourne is 100, but most of this is not the problem of the defense.
Poor form by Daniel Wells, Brent Harvey and the offensive structure needs to be altered by changes Scott has made to the team. Taking out Liam Anthony, Levi Greenwood’s inclusion as a tagger can release Wells and Ryan Bastinac from defensive midfield roles also0 bringing a hardened body to the contest, something the Roos have lacked.
In defense they still lack Scott McMahon, but the Luke and Cameron Delaney continue to impress, alongside Jamie MacMillan and Shaun Atley. Nathan Grima comes back into the side listed at Center Half Forward, an experiment Brad Scott hopes will pay off.
North have lacked a second target; and with Edwards going cold in the last two weeks, he needs to find something to bridge the gap until Tom Curran and Aaron Black are ready for consistent senior footy.
North’s top end is ultimately better than Port’s, however, if Port can win the ball out of the middle where North have been poor over the last month, they can inflict a massive blow to North’s Top 8 hopes.
But with the return of Greenwood releasing North’s more talented midfield, North should have more than enough to hold the Power at bay.
North by 18.
B: Jackson Trengove, Alipate Carlile, Jacob Surjan
HB: Ben Jacobs, Troy Chaplin, Hamish Hartlett
C: Kane Cornes, Domenic Cassisi, Danyle Pearce
HF: Matthew Broadbent, Jay Schulz, John McCarthy
F: Brett Ebert, John Butcher, Justin Westhoff
Foll: Brent Renouf, Bradley Ebert, Travis Boak
IC: Matt Thomas, Paul Stewart, Chad Wingard, Darren Pfeiffer
Emg: Jarrad Redden, Andrew Moore, Simon Phillips
In: Danyle Pearce, Matt Thomas, Jay Schulz, Chad Wingard, Darren Pfeiffer
Out: David Rodan, Daniel Stewart, Tom Logan, Simon Phillips, Aaron Young (Ankle)
B: Jamie Macmillan, Scott Thompson, Luke Delaney
HB: Daniel Wells, Michael Firrito, Cameron Delaney
C: Shaun Atley, Andrew Swallow, Leigh Adams
HF: Ben Cunnington, Nathan Grima, Kieran Harper
F: Aaron Edwards, Drew Petrie, Brent Harvey
Foll: Todd Goldstein, Jack Ziebell, Ryan Bastinac
IC: Lindsay Thomas, Ben Warren, Levi Greenwood, Brad McKenzie
Emg: Matt Campbell, Cruize Garlett, Cameron Pedersen
In: Ben Warren, Levi Greenwood, Nathan Grima
Out: Hamish McIntosh (Knee), Samuel Wright (Shoulder), Liam Anthony