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Match preview: West Coast v Port Adelaide

Pick a Winner: WC v Port Duck and Browny preview the Eagles v Power

SUMMARY
West Coast is one of the AFL's form teams after notching a fifth-consecutive win in last Sunday's tough Western Derby but the next month, starting with Port Adelaide this Saturday afternoon, will be a serious test of the Eagles' finals credentials. Adam Simpson's men have played some impressive football, especially at Optus Stadium, however the jury is still out given their five wins have come against sides currently outside the top eight. These two teams have played some blinders in recent years and the Power are still smarting from their epic elimination final loss last season, when they went down in an after-the-siren thriller in extra time. Port will fancy its chances coming off a confidence-boosting victory over North Melbourne and should regain star ruckman Paddy Ryder (Achilles) to take on in-form Eagles big men Nic Naitanui and Scott Lycett, although Chad Wingard's (hamstring) absence is a blow for the visitors.

WHERE AND WHEN: Optus Stadium, Saturday, May 5, 2.35pm AWST

TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide  

LAST FIVE TIMES
1EF, 2017, West Coast 12.6 (78) d Port Adelaide 10.16 (76) at Adelaide Oval
R16, 2017, Port Adelaide 18.12 (120) d West Coast 13.10 (88) at Subiaco Oval
R7, 2017, West Coast 15.7 (97) d Port Adelaide 12.15 (87) at Adelaide Oval
R9, 2016, West Coast 14.10 (94) d Port Adelaide 13.8 (86) at Adelaide Oval
R6, 2015, West Coast 11.12 (78) d Port Adelaide 10.8 (68) at Adelaide Oval 

THE SIX POINTS
1. West Coast has reeled-off five consecutive wins to sit second on the ladder and if the Eagles can overcome Port, they will notch six-straight victories for the first time since their 2015 Grand Final season.

2. The Eagles and Power are forging a healthy rivalry, with West Coast winning four of the past five clashes all by 10 points or less. Remarkably, the Eagles haven't won against Port in Perth since 2011, losing the last two contests at Subiaco Oval.

3. Port Adelaide boasts a strong midfield brigade and is the No.1 clearance team, with 41.8 per game, compared to West Coast with an average of 36.7 (equal seventh).

4. No team kicks the ball more than the Eagles (232.8 per game) but they’re ranked last for handballs. Port Adelaide is fifth for kicks and sixth for handballs.

5. Only two teams are currently ranked top four for attack and defence, reigning premier Richmond (No.1 points scored, third against) and the Eagles (No.2 points scored, fourth against). 

6. Eagles tall forward Jack Darling has made a stellar start to 2018, booting 15 goals and averaging nearly seven marks, and it has been reflected in the Schick AFL Player Ratings, with the 25-year-old climbing 41 spots to 132nd overall.

IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR … 
Brad Sheppard usually gets the tough job on the opposition's most dangerous small forward and the underrated Eagles defender is likely to reprise his former battles with Robbie Gray when the Power star spends time in attack.

PREDICTION: West Coast by 15 points

 
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs