The Power snap a three-year finals drought and will be met with a raucous home crowd. Ken Hinkley's side enters in strong form with their only loss from their past nine outings coming at the hands of Geelong in a round 12 belting. The Cats' last fortnight has offered little optimism entering their 13th finals series in 14 years but Joel Selwood has been held back for this moment and Gary Ablett will be cherry ripe after one game off a quarantine stint.
WHERE AND WHEN: Adelaide Oval, Thursday October 1, 7.10pm (local), 7.40pm AEST.
TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide
WHAT HAPPENED THIS YEAR?
Round 12: Geelong 14.7 (91) d Port Adelaide 4.7 (31)
Tom Hawkins bagged six goals and dominated a hapless Port Adelaide defence to drive home Geelong's premiership credentials. Hawkins pulled in seven contested marks and had 12 score involvements as he was left isolated one-on-one far too often, firstly against Tom Clurey and then Tom Jonas. The Power offered little offensively and delivered their lowest score since 2017.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
The Power struggled to move the ball when they were choked up by the Cats in round 12. But they'll take heart from their last six weeks forward of centre. The Power have been the second-most efficient side going inside 50, scoring from 45.1 per cent of entries in that time. If they can win enough clearances through Travis Boak, Ollie Wines and Tom Rockliff they should be able to provide enough service for Charlie Dixon and Robbie Gray, who is enjoying a super end to the season.
Should we read more into the Cats' stuttering fortnight or their previous hot form that included a demolition of the Power? If it's the former, they'll be worried about the ease of opposition scoring. Across the first 13 rounds the Cats allowed scores from just 36 per cent of opposition inside 50s (ranked No.1), however it's been 48 per cent (15th) over the last five rounds. If it's the latter, they'll be looking to isolate Tom Hawkins one-on-one and roll back to support Harry Taylor on Charlie Dixon like they did in round 12.
WHAT THE STATS SAY
1. While the Power have some of the best inside midfielders in the competition, the Cats have been the best contested ball team in 2020. It has gone to new heights in the last six weeks with Chris Scott's men holding a +14.2 contested possession differential on their opponents.
2. Travis Boak and Patrick Dangerfield sit among the best kicks inside 50 in the AFL. The Power have scored from 45.9 per cent of Boak's inside 50's (No.1 in the competition) this season, while the Cats are retaining the ball 62.3 per cent of the time when Dangerfield kicks into attack (No.2 in the competition).
3. Tom Rockliff has averaged 6.1 tackles per game this season to be ranked second in the competition.
4. Port Adelaide has the best clearance differential compared to their opponents this season, however Geelong is the most powerful side when it comes to scoring from stoppages, averaging almost five goals in this department.
5. Geelong recorded +79 disposals, +23 contested possessions and +68 uncontested possessions in the round 12 win over the Power. All three were the worst differentials for the Power in any game this season.
IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR …
He's had a super year skippering his side to the minor premiership. Now it's up to Power captain Tom Jonas to take the Hawkins match-up and drive his team to a home preliminary final. The Power opted for Clurey to start on Hawkins in round 12 before Jonas was switched later in the match. It's on him to set the tone on Thursday night.
With all attention to be focused on Tom Hawkins, Thursday looms as the perfect chance for Gary Rohan to step up and play a crucial role on the scoreboard. Rohan injured himself during the third quarter of last year's qualifying final after three disposals, but his recent finals record doesn't make for pretty reading. The former Swan kicked three goals against the Power in round 12 and needs a similar performance.
PREDICTION: Geelong by five points. Hard to go past them after their shellacking of the Power earlier this season.