Where and when: Marvel Stadium, Saturday, August 3, 1.45pm AEST
What it means for Essendon: The Bombers have won five on the bounce and look destined for finals action. They escaped the Gold Coast with a 10-point win last week and could all but secure a top-eight place with victory.
What it means for Port Adelaide: This is the last-chance saloon for Ken Hinkley’s side which must win to stay alive in the finals race. Port once again failed to deliver when it mattered last week – losing to GWS by one point. If Robbie Gray and co. can mastermind a victory, September will somehow remain within reach.
The stat: Port Adelaide does not hold the happiest of memories against Essendon at Marvel Stadium. The sides opened the Docklands ground back in March, 2000, with the Power suffering a 94-point thrashing. Their recent history isn’t much better either, losing their past two by an average of 46 points at the venue.
The match-up: Scott Lycett v Zac Clarke.
Port’s best chance of claiming a scalp rests on the broad shoulders of key ruck Scott Lycett. His counterpart Zac Clarke has improved slightly over recent weeks, but will face perhaps his toughest test to date this round. With Lycett likely to give Port first use, Essendon may find itself on the back foot.
It’s a big week for: Travis Boak. The Power’s ex-captain has led by example all season, culminating in a 40-disposal effort last week. Boak has averaged 32.4 disposals per game this season, sitting only behind Collingwood’s Adam Treloar. The tough inside midfielder is also the Power’s leading clearance player and will need to continue in such a vein if their season is to stay alive.
Big call: Dylan Clarke to blanket Trav Boak completely nullifying his influence and restricting him to 65 SC points.
Mottsy’s Tip: Essendon by 25 points.
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