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Match preview: Port Adelaide v Essendon

Pick a Winner: Port v Ess Duck and Browny preview the Power v Bombers
Brendon Goddard will be playing his final game in Essendon colours - AFL,Port Adelaide Power,Essendon Bombers
Brendon Goddard will be playing his final game in Essendon colours

Barring a Gold Coast miracle at Geelong, both clubs will be spectators for the finals. The Power must beat the Bombers and hope the Suns can pull off a stunning upset of the Cats on Saturday to sneak into eighth. A season that started with so much promise has gone south quickly for the Power, who have lost five of their past six games. It's been the reverse for the Bombers. After winning just two of their first eight, they turned it on in the second half of the season, but gave themselves too much to do. All three of their recruits – Devon Smith, Jake Stringer and Adam Saad – have been great additions and defender Aaron Francis is starting to fulfill his potential. The Power must find a way to fix their scoring woes without key forward Charlie Dixon if they're a chance to keep their slim finals hopes alive. 

WHERE AND WHEN: Adelaide Oval, Friday, August 24, 7.20pm ACST
TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide

R4, 2018, Essendon 16.10 (106) d Port Adelaide 12.12 (84) at Etihad Stadium
R12, 2017, Essendon 19.17 (131) d Port Adelaide 8.13 (61) at Etihad Stadium
R3, 2016, Port Adelaide 17.10 (112) d Essendon 7.9 (51) at Adelaide Oval
R17, 2015, Port Adelaide 20.9 (129) d Essendon 17.14 (116) at Etihad Stadium
R16, 2014, Essendon 8.14 (62) d Port Adelaide 7.18 (60) at Adelaide Oval 

1. Bombers forwards Jake Stringer, James Stewart and Joe Daniher combined for eight goals in the round four encounter with the Power. Bombers skipper Dyson Heppell starred with 31 disposals, seven tackles and five clearances.

2. Both of these sides are strong tackling teams. The Power are ranked first with 71 tackles per game, while the Bombers are averaging 65.9. Bombers midfielder Devon Smith is the No.1 tackling player in the competition.

3. Recent history goes the way of the Bombers, who have won seven of their past nine games against the Power. 

4. An advantage for the Power could be in the clearances. The Power are second in the competition for clearances, averaging 39.5 per game, while the Bombers are ranked 10th, averaging 37.

5. It's one win apiece in Adelaide Oval games between the Power and the Bombers. The Power have won seven of their 11 Adelaide Oval games this year, but the Bombers have a great interstate record this season, with four wins from five trips.

6. Bombers defender Aaron Francis is coming off a career-best game, according to the Schick AFL Player Ratings. Francis scored 18.5 ratings points in last week's eight-point loss to Richmond. It was the highest score in Francis' short career, and the equal-fifth best score of round 22. 


This could be the 334th and last game in the career of Bombers veteran Brendon Goddard. The 33-year-old won't play at the Bombers next year, but is undecided if he goes on at a third club, having started his career at St Kilda. Goddard has had another solid season across half-back, averaging 22.1 disposals per game.

PREDICTION: Essendon by 10 points