Port to be tested by St Kilda on Friday - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Port to be tested by St Kilda on Friday

By Daniel Brettig 23/04/2009 05:28:02 PM Comments (0)

Spectacular though it was, Tom Logan's mark-of-the-year contender over Luke Hodge was not where Port Adelaide claimed their upset victory over Hawthorn last week.

Rather, it was a battle won in the clinches by a team with tremendous desire to get their hands dirty and put their bodies where most would fear to tread.

Port's resolve to maintain that level of desperation - following a win coach Mark Williams described as one of the finest home and away wins by the Power - will be severely tested on Friday night by a St Kilda side that has raised the bar for pressuring the opposition this year.

So good have the Saints been at applying "frontal pressure" to opponents, Crows coach Neil Craig said their ability to keep applying a firm grip across four quarters was the best he had seen.

The Power have not lost to St Kilda at home in 11 years, but on game eve, Williams was in no mood to argue with his local rival's assessment of the team coached by Ross Lyon.

"It's a huge test," Williams said on Thursday.

"We see St Kilda as a genuine top-four side, one that's on the rise and one that is really on the top of their game.

"Their tackling has been outstanding and their ability to stop the opposition getting inside 50m is well acknowledged.

"Ross Lyon has had a couple of years there with them now and has got them playing the way he wants them to."

Cold, wet weather is forecast for the match, something that has furrowed the brows of Power officials who were hoping to attract a large crowd to one of the matches of the round.

The weather will also soften the loss of St Kilda big man Justin Koschitzke (hamstring), leaving the likes of Leigh Montagna and Stephen Milne to cause havoc at ground level.

To that end, Port will miss the suspended Matt Thomas, but can call on the hardness of captain Domenic Cassisi, after serving a one-match ban, and defensive utility Nick Lower.

They will also again expect big things from Logan, not that he will be leaping quite so high at a waterlogged AAMI Stadium.

"Clearances, tackles and contested ball will be the things that determines who wins," said Williams.

"I don't think Tommy Logan will be taking mark of the year this week."

Centreman Shaun Burgoyne was again unable to be considered due to knee soreness, an ailment that will again allow David Rodan a chance to buzz around the centre square.

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