42nd AFL Showdown: An unlikely top of the ladder clash

Written by Morgan Harding (@morganbharding) on 08 April 2017   

The 42nd Showdown is upon us.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, cross-town rivals in Port Adelaide Power and the Adelaide Crows will clash as the first and second on the ladder.

Port Adelaide, full of confidence; have just come off a smashing of Fremantle and a win in Sydney while the Crows boast wins against Greater Western Sydney and Hawthorn.

The Showdown has lured South Australian fans with a full-house expected, having exhausted public tickets on Sunday night after Port Adelaide’s 89 point win over Fremantle.

 Sam Powell-Pepper and team celebrating Rd 1, 2017

Power Defender, Matthew Broadbent told The Advertiser on Tuesday that the high scoring Crows will be tough to handle.

“This week with Adelaide, we get a massive test against the AFL’s in-form team”, he said.

“The crows are in great form, so it is not going to be easy.

“It’s about the way we play. If we play the right way, we are in with a chance.

“It is a pretty dangerous forward system.”

The last five times history of the Showdown favour Adelaide. The Crows have won four of the last five in high scoring games.

The Power is ranked first in the competition thus far in goal kicking with 39 goals to their name, with the Crows close behind on 38 goals.

The Power and Adelaide are ranked 1 and 2 for taking the ball inside 50, with Port posting 62.5 per game ahead of Adelaide with 60 entries per game.

Sam Powel-Pepper, Port Adelaide’s rookie sensation is one to watch.

He’s physical, plays the contest and isn’t afraid to put his body on the line.

The Showdown will be a brilliant test for the youngster.

Mitch McGovern and Matt Crouch for Adelaide will be heavily influential with Crouch picking up three Brownlow points and 33 disposals, five clearances and six tackles in the last showdown.

Robbie Gray for Port Adelaide could also split the middle having obtained 27 touches and two goals last time the rivals met.

The most obvious challenge, however, is for Port Adelaide in stopping superstar forward Eddie Betts.

Betts has scored 24 goals in six showdowns and remains unstoppable for the Powers backline.

 Josh Jenkins and Eddie Betts, JLT Series

Broadbent feels confident in his teammates.

“We defend as a back six – and are always looking to help each other.

“Nathan Krakouer has gone to Eddie in the past.

“Darcy Byrne-Jones can do it. Even Tommy Jonas.

“We have options as a back six we feel we are pretty flexible for match ups.

“He is a pretty special player, Eddie who can kick a goal from anywhere. He will be tough to stop.”

Captain Travis Boak additionally addressed the Betts dilemma.

“For us, it is going to be about our midfield battle”, Boak said.

“If we can get it forward enough and keep it in our forward half and keep it away from him, it will certainly go a long way towards stopping him.

“Our back six have been fantastic and if we provide enough support to them, without midfielders getting back and making sure we fill up that space… then it certainly goes a long way towards helping.”

Port Adelaide defender Jack Hombsch will be sidelined for up to a month with a knee injury from Sunday’s win over Fremantle, which is a huge blow for the Power.

Hamish Hartlett (virus) is an early IN for the Power with Jasper Pittard (hamstring) both undertaking training at Alberton on Tuesday.

Adelaide’s prominent forward, Josh Jenkins passed structural damage tests after a knock to the ribs on Saturday night against Hawthorn. Jenkins will be named in Adelaide’s 22 but in doubt for game time.

“We will give him every opportunity, up until the morning of the game,” assistant coach, Scott Camporeale said.

“He is obviously an important part of our forward line, so we’d be silly to rule him out early.

“He jogged some laps today. He seemed in a bit better shape today. We will take it day by day with him.

“We don’t need to push him.”

Adelaide captain, Taylor Walker showed confidence in the depth at the Crows disposal.

“That is the beauty of our forward line… that whether he is there or not, we will still be able to play the way we want,” Walker said.

History is on Adelaide’s side conjunctively with their recent form, but the Power as underdogs have a chance to set the record straight.

Their young guns are performing, and their structures are working well.

The Showdown will be unmissable.

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