AFL Round 16 Preview: West Coast v Port Adelaide

WHERE: Domain Stadium, Sunday, July 9, 2.40pm AWST

THE LAST FIVE
R7, 2017: West Coast 15.7 (97) def Port Adelaide 12.15 (87) at Adelaide Oval
R9, 2016: West Coast 14.10 (94) def Port Adelaide 13.8 (86) at Adelaide Oval
R6, 2015: West Coast 11.12 (78) def Port Adelaide 10.6 (68) at Adelaide Oval
R5, 2014: Port Adelaide 10.10 (70) def West Coast 7.14 (56) at Domain Stadium
R5, 2013: Port Adelaide 12.12 (84) def West Coast 10.19 (79) at AAMI Stadium

OVERVIEW

Round 16 marks the first time West Coast and Port Adelaide will play twice in one season since 2011, and it’s the first time the two sides will meet in Perth since 2014. Although West Coast may have taken the four points back in round seven, they were far from dominant. In fact, the Power smashed West Coast everywhere but the scoreboard, with 29 more inside 50s on the day.

This is a huge week for the Power. Their failure to beat a top-eight side from five attempts this season has them labelled by many as “pretenders”. Adam Simpson is surely relishing another team taking over the flat-track-bullies tag.

The bye certainly came at the right time for West Coast. Since the break, the Eagles’ brand of footy is noticeably different, with an emphasis on pressure and intensity around the contest. Port leads the AFL in inside 50s, averaging 61.6 per game. The Eagles will need to bring pressure to stifle Port’s supply.

TALKING POINTS

1. Since the bye, the Eagles are averaging 77.3 tackles per game, up 9.8 on their season average. Does Matt Priddis come back into a winning West Coast team?

2. In celebration of NAIDOC Week, West Coast will wear their indigenous jumper against the Power. Malcolm Karpany will be looking to back-up his three-goal performance from last week.

3. Mark Hutchings continues to strike fear into opposition coaches. The hardworking tagger effectively shut Jason Johannisen out of the game last week. It will be interesting to see who he goes to this week. Chad Wingard’s scintillating form through the midfield looks hard to ignore.

4. Sam Powell-Pepper, a WA product, returns to Perth for the first time since being drafted by the Power with pick 18. West Coast picked Daniel Venables (who is yet to debut) at 13 over Powell-Pepper. Currently ranked number one for first-year players in the AFL Player Ratings, Powell-Pepper will be looking to prove a point against his hometown club.

5. Injuries to veteran Sam Butler and Sharrod Wellingham leaves the selection door wide open, with Shannon Hurn, Jackson Nelson and Will Schofield all looking to come back in this week. Adam Simpson may have a selection headache down back but Josh Kennedy’s return should offer some relief.

MOST AT STAKE FOR… Matt Priddis.

West Coast’s favourite son may have signed a one-year deal to play on in 2018, but Matt Priddis’ place in the Eagles’ best 22 looks shaky. Priddis’ contract may be a sign that Sam Mitchell is destined for the coaching box next season, but the emergence of Dom Sheed, Liam Duggan, Kurt Mutimer and Jack Redden has serious question marks around Priddis’ place in the side right now. If he gets picked, look for Priddis to be ferocious around the middle.

TIP: West Coast by 13.

SECOND TIP: Josh Kennedy puts himself back in Coleman contention.

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