It’s been a very busy week in the AFL, with another breakout of COVID-19 in both Victoria and New South Wales sending the league into a scramble. Round 18 is going ahead though, and for the moment, the St Kilda vs Port Adelaide clash will still take place at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.
Check out our full preview and betting tips for the Saturday night clash and remember to head to our AFL Tips page for predictions on every game in Round 18.
Marvel Stadium, Saturday 17th July, 1.45pm (AEST)
The Saints looked dead and buried when they squandered a 33-point lead late in the 3rd quarter to the Crows. After that heart-breaking loss, they had their bye and seemed to regroup. Since then, they have peeled off three straight wins against the Tigers, Magpies and Lions and now face another tough test in the Power at Marvel Stadium this Saturday.
With the Dockers losing to the Cats on Thursday night, the door is well and truly open for the Saints to jump into the top eight with a win on Saturday, something absolutely no one would have predicted after a 111-point drubbing at the hands of the Western Bulldogs back in Round 10.
The Power had a real chance to make a statement and finally get a win over a top eight side when they faced the Demons in Round 17, but squandered the opportunity, going down to the Demons by 31 points on Thursday night. They have only one win against a top eight side this season, which is a worrying sign ahead of their finals campaign.
The Power were dealt more blows in their loss to the Demons, with star midfielder Zak Butters injuring his knee. The injury list at Port Adelaide is starting to pile up and they’ll now be without Butters, Fantasia, Farrell, Gray and Rockliff on Saturday.
The Saints have been battling a long injury list all season, and their recent success seems to have come from accepting what they have out on the park rather than worrying who is missing. Jake Carlisle, Hunter Clark, Nick Coffield, Jarryn Geary, Jade Gresham, Jack Higgins, Shaun McKernan, Ben Paton, Josh Battle and Mason Wook will all be missing this week.
I think the Saints are certainly good enough to win here, it just depends what St Kilda side turns up on the day. They probably have the biggest gap from their best football to their worst of any team in the league, matching it with the best teams in the league when they are up and about but going down to the likes of the Crows when they are flat.
One thing that I have maintained throughout the season is the importance of the dual ruck setup of Rowan Marshall and Paddy Ryder. When both are in the line-up this year, they are 5-1, with the one loss being a really hard-fought defeat at the hands of the Cats in Round 9. With one or both of those players missing this season, they are 3-7. I think they can get the job done here, especially at Marvel.
With both of those players in the line-up and the game being played at Marvel, I think the Saints get up here.
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