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Port Adelaide v Carlton

Port Adelaide and Carlton face off at Adelaide Oval, both seeking a crucial win to solidify their top-eight positions.

Separated by just one win inside the top eight, Port Adelaide and Carlton will lock horns in what promises to be a potentially decisive encounter at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday night. Both teams are eager to secure a crucial victory, with Port Adelaide aiming to solidify its top-four position and Carlton looking to maintain its spot in the top eight.

Port Adelaide’s Impressive Form

Port Adelaide enters Round 12 on the back of a three-game winning streak, their best run of the 2024 season. Their recent victories include an impressive six-point win against Geelong (101-95), a narrow triumph over Hawthorn (80-79), and a dominant performance against North Melbourne (107-48) last weekend. Todd Marshall starred in the match against North Melbourne, scoring five goals despite a head injury assessment in the first half, while Ollie Wines contributed significantly with 26 disposals and two goals.

Despite their strong performances, Port Adelaide has somewhat flown under the radar, perhaps due to their past disappointments in the finals. However, sitting in third place on the ladder, they are well-positioned to be genuine contenders this season. The Power have largely been fortunate with injuries, with only Sam Powell-Pepper (out for the season) and Willie Rioli (2-3 weeks) sidelined. Captain Connor Rozee, who rolled his ankle in the previous match, will miss the clash against Carlton after failing a late fitness test.

Carlton’s Resurgence

Carlton, currently sitting in eighth place, has had a roller-coaster season so far. They began the season strongly with four consecutive wins but were then hampered by injuries. However, the Blues have steadied the ship, winning two of their last three matches, including an impressive 102-73 victory over Gold Coast in Round 11. Zac Williams and Charlie Curnow were standout performers, each kicking four goals.

The Blues’ most recent win showcased one of their most consistent performances, leading at each break and outscoring the Suns 69-37 in the second half. Carlton has faced significant injury challenges but has seen some respite recently. Key players Adam Cerra (3-4 weeks), Sam Docherty (season), and ruckman Marc Pittonet (1-2 weeks) are still on the injury list, with Tom De Koning expected to handle the primary ruck duties against Port Adelaide.

Historical Context and Key Matchups

Carlton’s recent history against Port Adelaide has been challenging, with their last win in Adelaide against the Power dating back to 2013. However, the Blues can draw confidence from their 50-point thrashing of Port Adelaide at Marvel Stadium last season, where Patrick Cripps delivered a stellar performance with 24 disposals, 10 clearances, and one goal.

As both teams prepare for this critical encounter, the midfield battle looms large. Port Adelaide’s midfield, led by Ollie Wines and supported by the likes of Connor Rozee (despite his absence), will be key in setting the tone. Carlton’s midfield, on the other hand, will need another strong performance from Cripps and his teammates to match Port’s intensity.

What’s at Stake

For Port Adelaide, a victory could entrench them firmly in the top four heading into their bye, providing a significant boost to their finals aspirations. For Carlton, a win would not only consolidate their place in the top eight but also break their long-standing hoodoo at the Adelaide Oval against the Power, adding a psychological edge for future encounters.

Thursday night’s match at the Adelaide Oval is set to be a thrilling contest with high stakes for both sides. With both teams in good form and key players looking to make their mark, fans can expect an intense and closely fought battle under the lights.

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