Inconsistent Swans won’t bother the Power who still aren’t playing their best football
By Jack Kovacic

It may not have been as convincing as Port Adelaide fans had hoped, but their team returned to the winners list last Saturday evening with a 10-point victory over Hawthorn.

The Hawks got the early jump, kicking the first three goals of the contest before Port were able to work its way into things.

It was a genuine arm wrestle for the first three quarters, as the three-quarter time siren blowing with scores tied at 52 points apiece.

Port flexed its muscle defensively in the last quarter, allowing just a single score (a Shaun Burgoyne goal from outside 50m) from only six Hawthorn inside 50’s. Although Port only kicked two last quarter goals itself, this defensive performance was what got it over the line.

Port’s final goal was the best of the game. It led by four points with two minutes on the clock and a stoppage 20 metres out from goal. Scott Lycett allowed the ball-up to drop to his hip, before tapping it perfectly into the path of Zak Butters who flew through the stoppage and kicked the sealing goal. Butters was quick to acknowledge the selfless block of vice-captain Ollie Wines when interviewed post-game, after it allowed him to get free of his opponent.

After being smashed around the ball against Geelong a week earlier, Port’s midfield was able to get back on track, led by Travis Boak (34 disposals and nine clearances) and Tom Rockliff (28 disposals). Port finished +18 in contested ball and +10 in clearances with Robbie Gray and Sam Powell-Pepper also impressive, spending more time in the midfield.

This win keeps Port on top of the table for at least another week, and it now sits 9.2% ahead of Brisbane. Ken Hinkley will be hoping his team can add a few more percent to that lead, as well as another four points when they take on Sydney on Saturday.

Plagued by injuries to a host of key players, Sydney have been inconsistent throughout 2020, with this trait clearly evident in its last two performances.

The Swans played their best game of the season a couple of weeks ago against the Giants, running away 41-point winners thanks to a great team performance across the board.

Things couldn’t have been much more different last week when it kicked just two goals in a 31-point loss to Fremantle. The Swans started off well, leading by a point at quarter time but were held goalless for the next two quarters.

One of the few highlights of 2020 for Swans fans has been the emergence of James Rowbottom who has been one of their best midfielders in just his second season of AFL football.

Sydney will need him to continue on this form, as well as needing veterans such as Josh Kennedy and Luke Parker at their best if it is to match it with Port’s midfield. John Longmuire will also be hoping the likes of Tom Papley and Sam Reid are firing inside 50, as the Swans will need as many avenues to goal as possible.

Unfortunately for Sydney, 2020 just has not gone to plan and it won’t get any easier against the table topping Power at Adelaide Oval. I expect Sydney to come out firing after such a disappointing showing last match but also think Port will be able to deal with this and get on top before going on to a percentage boosting win.

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