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2021 Toyota AFL Premiership
Preliminary Finals • Port Adelaide v Western Bulldogs
45 6.9
Full Time Bulldogs by 71
116 17.14
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    Who's going to the Grand Final? Final teams, subs locked in for HUGE prelim

    Who will win through to face Melbourne in the Grand Final?

    <!-- -->
    Port Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs will face off in a blockbuster preliminary final at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday night. Picture: AFL Media

    FINAL TEAMS

    NO LATE CHANGES

    MEDICAL SUBS
    Port Adelaide: Sam Powell-Pepper
    Western Bulldogs: Anthony Scott

    FOLLOW IT LIVE All the scores and stats

    SUMMARY

    Port Adelaide beat Western Bulldogs by two points in a gripping round 23 clash that changed the course of each of their finals campaigns so far. Just three weeks later their paths cross again in a preliminary final. The Power's last-round victory secured their top-two finish and after backing that up with a qualifying final win over Geelong will now play a second home final. The Bulldogs' late-season loss forced them into an elimination final then a tough and tense semi-final last week. While the Power have had a week off for the likes of Orazio Fantasia to freshen up ongoing concerns, the Bulldogs will have to rejig their forward line after losing Cody Weightman from their semi-final team and their backline after an injury to Alex Keath. Marcus Bontempelli has been named despite twisting his knee last week, and Stefan Martin has received a shock call-up.

    Where and when: Adelaide Oval, Saturday September 11, 7.10pm ACST

    05:43 Mins
    Published on

    Match Previews Preliminary Finals: Port Adelaide v Western Bulldogs

    Sportsbet's Nathan Brown, Matthew Richardson and Matthew Lloyd preview the game between the Power and the Bulldogs at Adelaide Oval.

    Published on

    WHAT HAPPENED THIS YEAR? 

    Round 23: Western Bulldogs 10.4 (64) lost to Port Adelaide 9.12 (66) at Marvel Stadium

    The Bulldogs charged to an early 22-point lead and didn't trail until the Power kicked the last three goals of the match to snatch both the victory and a home qualifying final. Ollie Wines (34 disposals, one goal) and Travis Boak (31, two) led the Power comeback while Jack Macrae (29 touches) was best for the Dogs.

    ‘MATCHUP CATCHUP’ is now streaming in AFL On Demand

    03:11 Mins
    Published on

    Last two mins: Agony for Bulldogs after last-gasp shot falls short

    Enjoy the thrilling final moments between the Dogs and Power at Marvel Stadium

    Published on

    Round 9: Port Adelaide 12.5 (77) lost to Western Bulldogs 15.6 (96) at Adelaide Oval

    In a see-sawing contest the Bulldogs withstood a final-quarter challenge from the Power to steady with the last two goals of the match and cement an early top-two position. Tom Liberatore (27 disposals, 20 contested, 12 clearances) was a beast for the Dogs while Aaron Naughton took a screamer and kicked four goals. Wines (32 disposals) and Boak (30) were best for the Power.

    00:49 Mins
    Published on

    Naughton lifts off with super MOTY contender and finish

    Aaron Naughton has taken a super Four'N Twenty Mark of the Year contender and finished it off with the goal

    Published on

    WHAT TO WATCH FOR

    Port Adelaide
    The Power prefer to play with at least three key forwards and will again turn their tall threat into a potent weapon. Alex Keath's absence is a massive blow so the Dogs defence is certain to be stretched. Zaine Cordy comes in to help out but Ryan Gardner and Bailey Williams will certainly be tested against Charlie Dixon (46 goals), Todd Marshall (23 goals), and Peter Ladhams (13 goals). Mitch Georgiades (32 goals) was left out of the team.

    Port Adelaide forwards Charlie Dixon, Todd Marshall and Mitch Georgiades fly for a ball against Melbourne in R17, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

    Western Bulldogs 
    The Dogs' ruck role has been unsettled for much of the season with veteran recruit Stefan Martin injured since round 12 and Luke Beveridge reluctant to trust Tim English. But the Bulldogs coach turned to English after half-time in their semi-final last week as the 24-year-old played 88 per cent of his game in the ruck and helped turn the match. English only had one hitout against the Power in round 23 which is undoubtedly why Luke Beveridge has taken the gamble and recalled Martin to go head-to-head with Scott Lycett.

    Western Bulldogs' Tim English does battle with Brisbane's Oscar McInerney in a semi-final on September 4, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

    THE STATS THAT MATTER

    Port Adelaide
    It seems a simple game when you consider the Power have won all 17 matches when they have won the contested-ball battle, and lost five of the six times they lost that count. The outlier is a one-point win over lowly Collingwood in round 10. The likes of Ollie Wines, Travis Boak, Robbie Gray and Scott Lycett will hope to match their round 23 efforts when the Power beat the Dogs in contested ball (138-131) and on the scoreboard.

    Western Bulldogs 
    The Bulldogs are the clearance kings, averaging a League-leading 40 a game with a +5.9 differential over their opponents. Tom Liberatore (ave 7.7) leads the competition at the coalface with Jack Macrae (seven) not far behind, but both will need to be at their best to beat the likes of Travis Boak (6.3) and Ollie Wines (5.9) at the stoppages.

    IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR… 

    Port Adelaide
    Ollie Wines has averaged a career-high 32.1 disposals and was named in the Therabody AFL All-Australian team for the first time this season, and now has an opportunity to solidify his place among the stars of the competition. The 26-year-old was prominent in both clashes with the Dogs this season, and in their qualifying final win over Geelong, but was relatively quiet in the preliminary final against Richmond last year. Wines might have Josh Dunkley as close company this time as he looks to have an influence in the harshest of cut-throat finals.

    Port Adelaide's Ollie Wines in action against the Western Bulldogs in R23, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

    Western Bulldogs 
    Adam Treloar was well below his best in the Dogs' semi-final victory, with only two kicks in his 10 touches and some poor defensive efforts part of a lacklustre display. The first-year Bulldog might get more onball opportunities with Marcus Bontempelli hurting his knee last week but needs to improve his output and body language to bounce back even if he again spends plenty of time in the front half.

    00:51 Mins
    Published on

    Hey Adam, 'not everyone gets to play the role they want'

    Access All Areas looks at Adam Treloar's patchy form since returning from injury, and his poor body language from Saturday night

    Published on

    PREDICTION

    Port Adelaide by 24 points. The onball battle looks evenly balanced but the Power have more forward firepower and a fit and fresh group.

    MATCH REPORT

    LOOK OUT, DEES: Bulldog blitz tears Power apart in prelim boilover

    The Western Bulldogs are Grand Final bound after dismantling Port Adelaide in the preliminary final

    <!-- -->
    The Western Bulldogs' Josh Dunkley celebrates a win over Port Adelaide in the preliminary final on September 10, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

    IT TOOK the Western Bulldogs just 10 minutes of mayhem on Saturday night to seal their spot in an all-Victorian Grand Final, blowing Port Adelaide away with an opening burst for the ages.

    The Bulldogs had five goals on the board before the shellshocked home team blinked, leading by 37 points at quarter-time, 58 at the half and running out 17.14 (116) to 6.9 (45) preliminary final victors.

    POWER v BULLDOGS Full match coverage and stats

    The triumph sets up a Grand Final with Melbourne at Perth's Optus Stadium in two weeks, a fitting finale that will feature the two teams that dominated much of the home and away season.

    If the Demons looked the runaway premiership favourites after dismantling Geelong by 83 points on Friday night, the Bulldogs did all they could to match it in their 71-point demolition.

    07:50 Mins
    Published on

    Highlights: Port Adelaide v Western Bulldogs

    The Power and Bulldogs clash in the Preliminary Finals

    Published on

    Their start was as high a level of football as we've seen in 2021, a red, white and blue tsunami that ran the legs off Port.

    Semi-final hero Bailey Smith was at it again, starting the carnage with a goal inside 60 seconds after some lovely work from Tim English in the air and then at ground level to set the third-year dynamo up from close range.

    Smith would finish with four goals – one more than he kicked against Brisbane seven days earlier – to go along with 23 disposals to add to his monumental finals campaign.

    FIVE TALKING POINTS Why did Hinkley let Libba off the leash early?

    Laitham Vandermeer, Aaron Naughton – courtesy of a towering pack mark that split about six players – Mitch Hannan and Marcus Bontempelli followed Smith with goals in quick succession and Port were stunned.

    Following a brief moment of parity, the Dogs extended their advantage with Smith and Hannan adding their second goals respectively and the game was as good as over by the first change.

    02:14 Mins
    Published on

    Baz dazzles on prelim stage with four of the best

    Bailey Smith blasts four goals past Port to lead the Doggies to a Grand Final berth

    Published on

    The Bulldogs owned the footy, winning the contested possession count by a whopping 23 in the first quarter alone, and dominating the clearances 15-6 for the term.

    All the big names stood tall, with Jack Macrae (36) going past Tom Mitchell for the most disposals ever in a season, Bontempelli (20 and two goals) showing no signs of a knee injury he carried in, and Adam Treloar (23, a goal and match-high 13 score involvements) back to his blistering best following a quiet semi against the Lions.

    Alex Keath (hamstring) and Cody Weightman (concussion) somehow have to come back into this team, while Vandermeer sat out the final term with a tight hamstring.

    Port were nowhere near it all night, a disappointing finish to a season that promised so much after bowing out to Richmond at the same stage of 2020.

    Riley Bonner (32) was a standout, while Ollie Wines (38) battled hard after the early onslaught.

    PORT ADELAIDE                 1.1        3.4      5.8        6.9 (45)
    WESTERN BULLDOGS         7.2       12.8     14.12    17.14 (116)

    GOALS    
    Port Adelaide: Dixon 2, Bonner, Houston, Marshall, Wines
    Western Bulldogs: B.Smith 4, Hannan 3, Bontempelli 2, Naughton 2, Johannisen, Schache, R.Smith, Scott, Treloar, Vandermeer    

    BEST    
    Port Adelaide: Bonner, Wines, Houston, Lycett
    Western Bulldogs: B.Smith, Macrae, Treloar, Bontempelli, Hunter, Liberatore, Naughton

    INJURIES    
    Port Adelaide: Marshall (hamstring)
    Western Bulldogs: Vandermeer (hamstring)     

    SUBSTITUTES    
    Port Adelaide: Sam Powell-Pepper (replaced Marshall)
    Western Bulldogs: Anthony Scott (replaced Vandermeer)

    Crowd: TBC at Adelaide Oval

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