News Ports

Match preview: Port Adelaide vs Richmond


PORT ADELAIDE has marked its return as a highly competitive AFL team with – as the Americans would say – a “winning season” (more wins than losses) in seven of the past nine years.

At best, Port Adelaide this season can square the count at 11-11, as it did in 2019 – another season that fell short of expectation with no appearance in the AFL top-eight finals. (The only “losing season” since the dark chapter ended was in 2016, 10-12).

To maintain the high standards set at Alberton during the Ken Hinkley era, Port Adelaide must win its remaining three home-and-away matches, starting with Saturday night’s big challenge against Richmond at Adelaide Oval.

Richmond is still in contention for a top-eight finals berth. The other two games are against non-contenders Essendon and Adelaide. But that season-closer against Adelaide has its own storyline, as all Showdowns do.

Finishing the home-and-away season with three consecutive wins would mark the best winning run at Port Adelaide since the 0-5 start was followed with four consecutive wins. Port Adelaide has squared the ledger twice this season, at 7-7 and 8-8.

Port Adelaide re-acquaints itself with Richmond eight weeks after the round 13 encounter at the MCG, which ended in a 12-point defeat – one of the “close but no cigar” moments that have defined Port Adelaide this season with 10 games decided by 14 points or less (and only two won by Port Adelaide).

Port Adelaide worked key forwards Jeremy Finlayson and Charlie Dixon in ruck that Thursday night at the G.

Richmond had Brownlow Medallist Dustin Martin – albeit a very sore “Dusty” – that evening when Port Adelaide made a strong start with two goals in the first six minutes … and then conceded five unanswered goals to be 19 points down at quarter-time.

Much has changed during the following eight weeks at both clubs.

Port Adelaide has had a 3-4 win-loss count; Richmond, 3-3 and a draw against finals-bound Fremantle.

There is no question on what to expect from 10th-placed Richmond. It is playing with no room for error in the chase for a top-eight berth.

Port Adelaide (8-11, 11th) is playing for pride, answers to the questions that have marked a frustrating 2022 season – and new hope for 2023.  

“Port Adelaide is so professional,” says Richmond ruck coach and former Port Adelaide SANFL player Ivan Maric, “full of talent, full of hard-working players and they have been a really good team for a long time. I expect them to come out, play their brand that they have established for a number of years now – and want to win.

“We want them to play like that.”

“We have a responsibility to go with ‘winning’. That is what we are going to do. We are going to keep going after winning to give ourselves the best chance to win as many games as we possibly can between now and the end of our season. We will never stop trying to win every opportunity we get. If others have a different view, I don’t share it …”

Port Adelaide senior coach Ken Hinkley

RUCKS OF OLD

BACK to convention this week.

There is – after much success in winning the ground ball from makeshift ruckman Jeremy Finlayson – the return of the specialist, dedicated ruckman.

Mid-season rookie draftee Brynn Teakle returns to the AFL line-up for his second national league game after a memorable 35 minutes against Sydney at Adelaide Oval on June 18 (when he was sent to hospital before half-time for surgery on a broken collarbone).

Finlayson and his ruck partner Charlie Dixon return to key forward roles to cover the loss of team leading goalscorer Todd Marshall (COVID protocols) and Mitch Georgaides (form).

Teakle will work against experienced Richmond ruckman Toby Nankervis and not the Nankervis-Ivan Soldo tandem. And Richmond ruck coach Ivan Maric warns Nankervis will test Teakle beyond the battle for hit-outs.

Mid-season sensation Brynn Teakle returns for his first game since his debut was cut short by a broken collarbone. Image: Matt Sampson.

“It is a big part of Toby’s game (to follow up the hit-out),” Maric said. And this trait seems to have been forced by the Champion Data numbers noting Nankervis wins 47.3 per cent of the ruck contests he attends – an above average figure. But his taps go to Richmond’s advantage only 29.2 per cent of the time – below league average.

Teakle marks the tape measure at 204 centimetres. Nankervis is 199cm.

Teakle tips the scales at 96 kilograms. Nankervis at 102kg.

Teakle, 22, on Friday signed a contract extension keeping the East Fremantle recruit at Alberton until at least the end of next season.

AT THE OVAL

ADELAIDE OVAL has been the perfect setting for so many remarkable – and extremely entertaining – Port Adelaide-Richmond clashes.

The 2020 preliminary final, decided by six points in Richmond’s favour to allow the Victorian club to continue its premiership run.

Then by two points – in Port Adelaide’s favour – in the round 4 clash last season.

The first AFL final played at Adelaide Oval – with Port Adelaide’s eight-goal opening and 14-goal first half (while wearing the club’s traditional black-and-white bars) – in 2014.

Travis Boak celebrates a goal during the 2014 Elimination Final against Richmond at Adelaide Oval. Image: AFL Photos.

There have been nine Port Adelaide-Richmond clashes at Adelaide Oval for AFL premiership points. Port Adelaide has won five, lost four.

The tighest game was the two-point clash last season. The biggest margin is the 57 points from the 2014 elimination final, the first Port Adelaide-Richmond AFL encounter at the redeveloped city ground.

The past six games between the two clubs at the Oval have been decided by two, six, 21, seven, 14 and 13 points.

There is almost a “Showdown theme” to this rivalry when it plays out at the Oval.

SCORING THEMES

ONLY a few weeks ago the question was how would Port Adelaide fit Charlie Dixon, Jeremy Finlayson, Todd Marshall and Mitch Georgiades into the forward-50 arc?

Marshall will miss this match by the COVID protocols. Georgiades has had the goalkicking yips – and a telling fall in form while his confidence has been sapped by the misses in his shots at goal.

From a makeshift ruck tandem, the firm of Finlayson & Dixon turns to forming a partnership as key forwards replacing Marshall & Georgiades.

Port Adelaide’s season average of 11 goals is the lowest (excluding the COVID-affected 2020 season) since 2012.

Richmond’s scoring average is significantly up on last season’s 79-point mark to 94 points.

DEFENCE WINS

PORT Adelaide’s defence has either appeared to have played too high or too aggressively and generally paid dearly for being caught out of shape when forced to defend on a turnover.

During the past three losses, Port Adelaide has conceded 83 points to AFL premier Melbourne, 106 points to league leader Geelong and 88 points to the finals-bound Collingwood – all score above the season average for points conceded of 74.

“As a first-year line coach,” says Port Adelaide defence coach Chad Cornes, “I am questioning myself, whether I am doing everything right during the week to make sure the backs and team defence is at the level it needs to be. During the past couple of weeks, it has not – not from our backs and not from team defence. I am always looking at myself and things I could do more or do better during the week. All the coaches are.

“We are all – players and coaches – in together looking at ways to be better. We understand this year has been way off where we expected and need to be.”

Richmond’s defence is noted, with its extra number behind the ball, for working opposition teams into costly turnovers. But there also has been the unusual leakage in the Richmond defence recently, particularly in four of the past five games in which Richmond has conceded more than 92 points.

“We’ve just got to be perfect this week,” says Richmond coach Damien Hardwick.

Whichever team makes the better corrections in defence will be best placed to win.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“A lot of the indicators – numbers we value – are really, really high with Port Adelaide. They are a side that is in form, but hasn’t quite got the result they have been after during the past couple of weeks. Since round 12 or 13, when they got all their players back, they have started to become the Port Adelaide we all know and love.”

Richmond premiership coach – and Port Adelaide premiership player – Damien Hardwick

BIRD SEED

(the little stuff that counts most)

Where: Adelaide Oval

When: Saturday, August 6, 2022

Time: 7.10pm (SA time)

Last time: Port Adelaide 10.5 (65) l Richmond 11.11 (77) at the MCG, round 13, June 9, 2022

Overall: Port Adelaide 20, Richmond 15, one drawn

Past five games (most recent first): L W L W L

Scoring average: Port Adelaide 89, Richmond 84

Drawn game: Port Adelaide 16.10 (106) drew with Richmond 16.10 (106) at the MCG in round 23, September 2, 2012

Tightest winning margin – Port Adelaide by two points (32-30) at Football Park in round 11, June 12, 1999 and (79-77) at Adelaide Oval in round 4, April 9, last year; Richmond by four points (127-123) at Football Park in round 13, June 21, 2008

Biggest margin – Port Adelaide by 84 points (154-70) at Football Park in round 12, June 23, 2002; Richmond by 85 points (146-81) at the MCG in round 21, August 24, 1997

By venues: Adelaide Oval (5-4), Football Park (10-5), MCG (2-1-4), Docklands (2-2), Marrara Oval, Darwin (1-0)

By States and territories – South Australia (15-9), Victoria (4-1-6), Northern Territory (1-0).

 



Source link

Leave a Comment