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Essendon became the first team to defeat Port Adelaide on Sunday in 2017 as new recruit Jake Stringer booted for goals.
Port Adelaide 12.12.84
Round 4 continues from the Docklands as the Essendon Bombers host the Port Adelaide Power. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog from 1:10pm (AEST).
After a big offseason, adding experience and talent at the trade table, big things were expected of the Bombers in 2018. Two disappointing losses have taken some of the steam out of the early season.
In fact, the media reaction to their admittedly poor display against the Dogs last week has probably been a bit over the top.
Port Adelaide, on the other hand, are sitting pretty as the league’s only undefeated team.
Mind you, they did it tough last week at home to the fast-finishing Lions, just holding on to win by five points.
But while the two sides might have had different fortunes in the season so far, nevertheless this looks like an intriguing contest.
Travelling and beating good teams proved too much for the Power last season, and while they’ve already had a commendable victory at the SCG, they’d be keen not to fall back into bad habits.
Port have been strong across the ground so far this season, with the ruck probably the sole area of real concern.
They would, however, like to get a bit more out of key forward Charlie Dixon, who has had an indifferent start to the year.
For their part, the Bombers have had a bit of trouble in the middle of the ground, where young star Zac Merrett has struggled since copping a heavy knock in round one.
At selection, Essendon are forced to make do without the suspended Conor McKenna, while Matt Guelfi comes in for his debut.
Port Adelaide lose Sam Powell-Pepper to a club-imposed suspension, while Dom Barry is dropped. Karl Amon comes in for his first game of the year and former Sun Trent McKenzie makes his debut for his new team.
Surely Essendon will put out something better this afternoon than they did last week. At home, they’re always a chance.
But the Power’s form is much better, and they’d be expected to have an advantage in the middle of the ground.
Port Adelaide by 12 points.