It is an understatement to say this is a big game for both sides. With the teams locked on 32 points apiece and separated by just percentage, this Friday night contest has major ramifications for the rest of the season. Port Adelaide is out to make it three wins on the trot and continue its charge up the ladder, while Melbourne will be looking to bounce back after a 42-point loss to Collingwood prior to the bye. The loss to the Magpies ended the Demons' six-game winning streak and a win over the Power would restore confidence in their aspirations of making the top four. The duel between Melbourne's Max Gawn and reigning All Australian ruckman Paddy Ryder shapes as integral to the clash while the battle between childhood friends Jack Viney and Ollie Wines will also be interesting to monitor. After a bye, will Melbourne be able to recapture the form that served it so well over its successful six-week run of form?
WHERE AND WHEN: Adelaide Oval, Friday June 22, 7.20pm ACST
TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide
LAST FIVE TIMES
R18, 2017, Melbourne 13.10 (88) d Port Adelaide 9.11 (65) at the MCG
R21, 2016, Melbourne 13.16 (94) d Port Adelaide 8.6 (54) at Adelaide Oval
R10, 2016, Port Adelaide 18.13 (121) d Melbourne 10.16 (76) at TIO Traeger Park
R9, 2015, Port Adelaide 18.7 (115) d Melbourne 8.6 (54) at TIO Traeger Park
R18, 2014, Port Adelaide 10.12 (72) d Melbourne 10.9 (69) at Adelaide Oval
THE SIX POINTS
1. Melbourne has now won the last two clashes between the sides, ending Port Adelaide's dominance of seven straight wins in 2011-16. The Demons haven't won three in a row over the Power since 1998-99.
2. The Demons are the number one ranked contested possession team this season, averaging 161.7 per game. Port Adelaide has also been strong in this area, ranked sixth in the League with an average of 150.4.
3. Port Adelaide has been one of the best tackling sides this season, ranked equalsecond averaging 70 per game, but Melbourne has also been good ranked fifth with an average of 68.1.
4. The teams have played three times at Adelaide Oval with two wins to the Power. Not in Melbourne's favour is they've never won an interstate Friday night match, with eight losses from eight games since 1991.
5. The Demons are the highest scoring side this season for goals per game, having kicked 100 points eight times. The Power have reached 100 in a game three times.
6. Melbourne midfielder Clayton Oliver has moved to No.11 in the Schick AFL Player Ratings, jumping 60 spots from the start of the season.
IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR …
Could we see Jack Viney and Ollie Wines go head-to-head? The childhood friends are two of the most competitive players in the AFL and it would be great for the game if the two locked horns. Viney has played in run-with roles recently and may go to Wines as he is the Power's form inside midfielder.
PREDICTION: Melbourne by six points