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AS IT HAPPENED: Bulldogs smash Power in preliminary final masterclass

11th September, 2021
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Port Adelaide

45

Match Complete

Western Bulldogs

116

24
POR45 : 116WES

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11th September, 2021
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Port Adelaide

45

Match Complete

Western Bulldogs

116

Fourth Quarter
24:04J. Johannisen
21:49B. Smith
19:19A. Naughton
R. Gray15:50
C. Dixon12:56
8:08B. Smith
32:36J. Schache
0:44A. Scott
30:41M. Hannan
29:19A. Treloar
M. Bergman28:28
26:35J. Schache
25:36Rushed
O. Wines21:10
18:28A. Treloar
Rushed13:04
T. Marshall8:50
T. Marshall5:26
C. Dixon2:40
O. Fantasia32:25
30:14M. Bontempelli
27:46R. Smith
24:19M. Hannan
19:20R. Smith
R. Bonner17:38
T. Boak16:32
15:07M. Hannan
12:37J. Johannisen
12:10A. Treloar
9:58L. Hunter
7:46J. Schache
6:46J. Schache
4:28A. Naughton
D. Houston2:41
32:10M. Hannan
C. Dixon0:51
30:05B. Smith
T. Boak25:16
O. Wines20:41
16:54Rushed
14:44M. Bontempelli
11:03M. Hannan
7:40A. Naughton
5:03L. Vandermeer
4:04A. Naughton
0:50B. Smith

Show Preview

This is the last decider before the grand final in two weeks’ time, with the Port Adelaide Power hosting the Western Bulldogs at their Adelaide Oval fortress.

Whoever wins this preliminary final will join Melbourne on September 25th to battle it out for the 2021 premiership. Join The Roar for live scores and commentary from 7:40pm (AEST).

Port Adelaide return to the place where it all ended for them last year, when Richmond pipped them by a goal in the penultimate week. This week has already seen the Demons overcome recent finals scars, returning to Optus Stadium where they were thrashed by the Eagles in the 2018 prelim to book a ticket to the big dance this time around. Can the Power do the same?

Port are coming in off a strong 43-point win over Geelong in the qualifying final. Orazio Fantasia kicked four and Port’s army of runners were too much for the Cats, while Ollie Wines starred with 33 touches, Travis Boak had 32 of his own, and Aliir Aliir was dominant in defence with seven marks, 14 disposals and five defensive 50 rebounds. They will be looking for a similar output tonight.

The Bulldogs have had to work for this opportunity. And travel. First, they sliced Essendon up in the pouring rain in Tasmania. Then they flew north and beat Brisbane in the tropical humidity at the Gabba by a single point in a see-sawing match that was decided with less than a minute to play.

The good news for the Bulldogs is that their core stars are firing: Marcus Bontempelli (having been given the green light to play despite a knee injury), Aaron Naughton, Bailey Smith, Tom Liberatore and Jack Macrae all tremendous against the Lions. The bad news is that gun defender Alex Keath (hamstring) and goalsneak Cody Weightman (concussion) are out. Port is fresh after a week off and we’re not really sure just how fit Bontempelli is.

Both teams have strengths in the midfield and boast a team filled with gut-runners and inside beasts. The Bulldogs have shown that when they can control the stoppages, they can score, similar to the Demons. But Power also have venom in their midfield and weapons up forward that can wreak havoc, like Connor Rozee, Karl Amon and Robbie Gray, just to name a few.

Aliir has had a breakout season in his first year at the Power. He’s ranked third in the AFL for intercept possessions and his full repertoire was on display against Geelong — rebounding, contested marks, spoils, you name it.

Expect him to influence the game across half-back. The Dogs’ counterpart is Keath, whose absence creates a problem. That will put more pressure on the remaining defenders in Taylor Duryea, Bailey Dale, Bailey Williams to multi-task.

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The last time these two teams met at the Adelaide Oval was in May, where the Bulldogs won by 19 points in a hard-fought game. But Cody Weightman and Josh Bruce combined for five goals that night; both forwards are missing.

Port Adelaide’s Dan Houston will be playing his 100th game for the Power, who head in unchanged. The Bulldogs have rolled the dice on ruckman Stefan Martin for his first game since Round 12, with stand-in Lewis Young dropped. Medical sub Jason Johannisen comes in for Weightman, while Zaine Cordy returns in the place of Keath.

Prediction
The Bulldogs will be able to match the Power in the midfield stoushes. And they might be able to control periods of the game though their stoppage wins and contested ball strengths. They will need to cash in on the scoreboard when they dominate play, though, which might be a hard ask without the likes of Bruce and Weightman. And missing Keath might be a factor in defence as the game wears on. The Bulldogs have surprised us so far — but let’s not forget their horrid form coming into finals, losing their last three.

Port Adelaide have a lot of things going for them right now, which will be too much for the Bulldogs to overcome: a home final, they’ve had a week’s rest, and they’re basically at full strength. They’ve also carried the sting and pain of losing last year’s preliminary final at home in Adelaide all year long. What more motivation do you need to win?

Port Adelaide by 36 points

Catch all the action on The Roar’s live coverage of this knockout final from 7:50pm (AEST).

Game information

Opening bounce: 7:40pm (AEST)
Venue: Adelaide Oval
TV: Channel Seven, Fox Footy
Live stream: Kayo Sports, Foxtel Now, Foxtel Go, 7Plus
Betting: Power $1.40, Bulldogs $2.96 (odds via PlayUp)

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Teams

Port Adelaide Power
FB: [3] Ryan Burton, [12] Trent McKenzie, [21] Aliir Aliir
HB: [14] Miles Bergman, [1] Tom Jonas (c), [33] Darcy Byrne-Jones
C: [7] Xavier Duursma, [16] Ollie Wines, [5] Dan Houston
HF: [15] Karl Amon, [4] Todd Marshall, [18] Zak Butters
FF: [9] Robbie Gray, [22] Charlie Dixon, [20] Connor Rozee
FOL [29] Scott Lycett, [10] Travis Boak, [28] Willem Drew
I/C: [6] Steven Motlop, [13] Orazio Fantasia, [26] Riley Bonner, [38] Peter Ladhams
EMERG: [2] Sam Powell-Pepper, [17] Tom Clurey, [32] Sam Mayes, [40] Jarrod Lienert
NO CHANGE

Western Bulldogs
FB: [10] Easton Wood, [43] Ryan Gardner, [34] Bailey Williams
HB: [35] Caleb Daniel, [12] Zaine Cordy, [31] Bailey Dale
C: [6] Bailey Smith, [5] Josh Dunkley, [7] Lachie Hunter
HF: [23] Laitham Vandermeer, [33] Aaron Naughton, [1] Adam Treloar
FF: [13] Josh Schache, [44] Tim English, [29] Mitch Hannan
FOL: [8] Stefan Martin, [11] Jack Macrae, [4] Marcus Bontempelli (c)
I/C: [15] Taylor Duryea, [21] Tom Liberatore, [37] Roarke Smith, [39] Jason Johannisen
EMERG: [2] Lewis Young, [3] Mitch Wallis, [20] Ed Richards, [28] Anthony Scott
IN: Stefan Martin, Zaine Cordy, Jason Johannisen (SF medical sub)
OUT: Alex Keath, Cody Weightman, Lewis Young

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