Brendon Goddard could play his last game in Essendon colors
Except for a Gold Coast miracle in Geelong, both clubs are spectators for the final. The Force must defeat the Bombers and hope that the Suns on Saturday can make a staggering upset of the Cats to slip into the eighth. A season that started with so many promises quickly went south for the Power, who lost five of their last six games. It was the reverse for the bombers. After they had won only two of their first eight, they bet on him in the second half of the season, but gave themselves too much to do. All three of their recruits – Devon Smith, Jake Stringer and Adam Saad – have been great additions and defender Aaron Francis is beginning to fulfill his potential. The Power must find a way to solve their scoring misery without sending the key forward, Charlie Dixon, if they have a chance to keep their small final hopes alive.
WHERE AND WHEN: Adelaide Oval, Friday, August 24, 7 PM ACST
TV AND RADIO: click here for the broadcast guide
LAST FIVE TIMES
R4, 2018, Essendon 16.10 (106) d Port Adelaide 12.12 (84) at Etihad Stadium
R12, 2017, Essendon 19.17 (131) d Port Adelaide 8.13 (61) at Etihad Stadium
R3, 2016, Port Adelaide 17.10 (112) d Essendon 7.9 (51) in Adelaide Oval
R17, 2015, Port Adelaide 20.9 (129) d Essendon 17.14 (116) at Etihad Stadium
R16, 2014, Essendon 8.14 (62) d Port Adelaide 7.18 (60) in Adelaide Oval
THE SIX POINTS
1. Bombers forward Jake Stringer, James Stewart and Joe Daniher combined for eight goals in the round four encounter with the Force. Bombers skipper Dyson Heppell played with 31 sales, seven tackles and five clearances.
2. Both sides are strong tackling teams. The Power are in first place with 71 tackles per game, while the Bombers average 65.9. Bombers midfielder Devon Smith is the number 1 tackling player in the league.
3. Recent history goes the way of the bombers, who have won seven of their past nine games against power.
4. An advantage for the Force could be in the free space. The Power is the second in the battle for clearances, averaging 39.5 per game, while the bombers are in 10th place, averaging 37.
5. It is one victory each in Adelaide Oval matches between the Power and the Bombers. The Power has won seven of their eleven Adelaide Oval games this year, but the bombers have a big interstate record this season, with four wins of five trips.
6. Bomb defender Aaron Francis comes from a career-best game, according to the Schick AFL Player Ratings. Francis scored 18.5 points in the eight points of last week's loss to Richmond. It was the highest score in Francis' short career, and the even fifth best score of round 22.
IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR …
This could be the 334th and final match in Bombers' career veteran Brendon Goddard. The 33-year-old has once again had a solid season, averaging 22.1 sales per game, but has to get a new contract next year. If he does not sign again at the bombers, a club like Gold Coast could recruit Goddard to add experience and guide his young players.
FORECAST: Essendon with 10 points