Power weigh task against Eagles - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Power weigh task against Eagles

By Daniel Brettig 18/07/2009 11:12:30 AM Comments (0)

As the last two sides to lose to Melbourne, Port Adelaide and West Coast know from painful experience the cost of underestimating AFL opponents.

The Power are the team most at risk of doing so again on Sunday, given the Eagles have not won a match away from Subiaco Oval since round 21 of 2007 and have also lost the services of All-Australian ruck giant Dean Cox.

His replacement Mark Seaby is no slouch, while the vigour of youngster Nic Naitanui is sure to test the energy levels of Port tandem Brendon Lade and Dean Brogan.

Power coach Mark Williams made all the right pre-game noises, showing deference to Seaby and reminding his players that the Eagles' abysmal road record should not cloud their thinking.

"I think it's going to be a tough battle there, Seaby's quite a good ruckman, Cox out of the side being their No.1 guy gives him a great opportunity and one he'll look forward to," Williams said.

"We've been part of a game I think we won by about three points here (against the Eagles), so we know you can't underestimate West Coast and they'll be coming here fully prepared, they smashed us in round two so they'll be pretty confident about it as well."

Port's 22 for the match carries a decidedly youthful look, after established trio Josh Carr, Peter Burgoyne and Michael Pettigrew were jettisoned and Tom Logan withdrawn due to a virus.

In their places are debutant Matthew Broadbent, Nick Salter, Nick Lower and Travis Boak, a quartet Williams would dearly like to develop into top-line players over the next two seasons.

Port's form at home has been largely solid over most of 2009, but the ignominy of a loss against the Demons does not help the club's chances of attracting a healthy crowd to the Sunday lunchtime bounce-down.

However, Williams spoke optimistically about the value a vocal crowd can have, given their impact during Port's win over Brisbane at home a fortnight ago.

"Our form has been outstanding at home and we hope to be able to continue that, our crowd, last game we played against Brisbane here at three-quarter-time they really helped us get over the line," he said.

"I'm sure they'll come again and help us over the line so we can continue our march towards the finals.

"We know it's been a little haphazard but we're fully focused on it."

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