Port Adelaide will be aiming to cause an upset when they take on Fremantle in Saturday night’s semi-final showdown in Perth.
Port Adelaide don’t fear the past, they don’t fear Patersons Stadium, and they certainly don’t fear Fremantle heading into Saturday night’s semi-final in Perth.
The Power haven’t beaten Fremantle in Perth since 2008, with their average losing margin during that five-match stretch a worrying 44.2 points.
The most recent meeting was just two weeks ago, when Port Adelaide lost by eight points despite kicking the last five goals of the match.
Fremantle are warm favourites to win their way through to the preliminary finals but Port Adelaide are quietly confident of causing an upset after dismantling Richmond by 57 points in brutal fashion last week.
Power director of coaching Shaun Hart, who won three straight flags with Brisbane from 2001-03, said his side’s poor recent record against Fremantle wouldn’t matter one bit heading into Saturday’s knockout encounter.
“I don’t buy into any of the history, even two weeks ago,” Hart said on Friday.
“What happens on Saturday will be about the mindset of each playing group, and about the coaching that comes into the game.
“Nothing that happened even a day ago is going to concern what happens on Saturday.
“Both teams will feel pressure. Both coaching teams will feel pressure.
“It’s a final, it’s a knockout, and that’s the reality for both teams.”
Power forward Jay Schulz barely trained on Friday but Hart said the sharpshooter would be a definite starter against Fremantle.
“We jokingly say he probably hasn’t trained for the last month too much,” Hart said.
“He’s just a guy that needs to make sure that he’s ready to play on game day.”
Power speedster Matt White has been given the green light to play despite suffering a crack in his jaw last week, but Dockers goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne wasn’t able to recover from his own jaw fracture.
Ballantyne’s place in the side has been taken by Nick Suban, with midfielder Michael Barlow named to play despite injuring his foot in last week’s loss to Sydney.
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon expects Danyle Pearce to produce a better effort this week after the midfielder struggled to play through a bug against the Swans last Saturday.
Another player Lyon expects to have a strong game is skipper Matthew Pavlich, who went through a lean patch late in the season before returning to peak form in time for the finals.
Pavlich has booted 11 goals over the past three games, and Lyon said the skipper had responded well to the adversity he had faced.
“He was in a flat spot. He had a couple of concussions,” Lyon said.
“We sat down and had a chat and identified some areas.
“He took it on board in the manner that he should as a leader, and he really responded.
“He’s like (the racehorse) Might and Power – just give him a tickle on the ribs and away he goes.”
PORT ADELAIDE’S RECENT RECORD AGAINST FREMANTLE:
* Rd 23, 2014: Lost by 8 points in Perth
* Rd 8, 2014: Won by 18 points in Adelaide
* Rd 22, 2013: Lost by 74 points in Perth
* Rd 18, 2012: Lost by 27 points in Adelaide
* Rd 7, 2012: Lost by 40 points in Perth
* Rd 9, 2011, Lost by 52 points in Adelaide
* Rd 14, 2010 Lost by 57 points in Perth
* Rd 19, 2009: Lost by 42 points in Perth