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Melbourne Football Club

Match preview: Melbourne v Port Adelaide

Last time we met | Melbourne v Port Adelaide Relive the last time we met Port Adelaide in round 14

Where and when 

MCG, Saturday March 23, 1.45pm (AEDT)

Last time they met

Adelaide Oval, Round 14, 2018: Port Adelaide 11.9 (75) defeated Melbourne 9.11 (65)

Doubts were raised about Melbourne's finals credentials after it lost its second game on the trot after a run of six previous wins. In a brutal game, the Power gained the ascendancy late in the last quarter thanks to a Sam Gray goal. Despite leading for most of the night, Melbourne's inefficiency going into attack was highlighted. It became a theme for Simon Goodwin's side as the year progressed.

What it means for Melbourne

With games to come against Geelong, Essendon and Sydney, starting the season off on a winning note is important. The Demons are one of the legitimate premiership contenders, so if they can flex their muscles early, they will gain great confidence to roll into the rest of the season.

How Melbourne wins

Melbourne was the No.1 centre clearance team in the AFL and by a wide margin in 2018, so Max Gawn and co will again be critical in that part of the ground. The Demons' focus on playing "forward-half football" is borne out of their midfield dominance.

The stat

Port Adelaide has beaten Melbourne just twice in 10 meetings between the sides at the MCG.

The match-up

Max Gawn v Scott Lycett/Paddy Ryder

Gawn is the seventh-ranked player in the competition in the Schick AFL Player Ratings after a superb 2018 campaign. Ryder is 14th while Lycett is 249th, although that rating does not reflect his influence on games late last season.

It's a big week for

Sam Weideman

Weideman has the chance to make the key forward spot his own after Jesse Hogan's departure to Fremantle. The promising 21-year-old was outstanding in last year's finals series but the opportunity is there for him to stamp his imprimatur on the game and the season.