It has been 15 years since Ports last made an appearance in an Eastern Eyre Football League grand final and they have not previously won an A grade flag – will the drought break on Saturday?
Luke Harrowfield is the only Ports player remaining from the unsuccessful tilt 15 years ago – again against the Tigers.
Both teams have a wealth of very good players and there will be some absorbing contests but the one most likely to affect the outcome of the game is between two players who do not play on each other – they play at opposite ends of the ground but play almost identical roles.
Both are strong overhead and have damaging left feet; Sid Masters and Jesse Kemp control their respective backlines and if the opposition can find a way around them they will score.
Whether Ports have the running power to negate Kemp’s penchant for breaking to space and launching a bomb with more effect than Kim Jong-un is questionable.
Ross Campbell and Andrew Vandeleur going at it all day will be a sight for sore eyes, ice packs at the ready I would say. Both are very competitive and they are sure to stir the crowd into full voice, often.
Matt Dodd, Tom Clarke and Brad Wake all have good motors as do Ryley Maitland, Ben Clements and Reece Rayson. They will all rack up plenty of disposals and it will come down to finishing skills that tip the scales one way or the other. Adam Davey mostly plays forward but I think he will need to go into the middle of the ground and contest the ruck. Sam Haskett has been in rare form lately and Ports cannot afford for that advantage to go unchecked.
Both teams boast decorated forwards; Matt Parker (Ports) seems to be on the verge of reproducing the form that had him representing the EP at country championships in 2011, 2012 and 2016 and a grandstand performance on Saturday would be timely.
Joel Fitzgerald (Kimba) had a minor hiccup with injury during the season that cost him a plane flight to Perth where he would have represented SA at the country championships.
Averaging six goals a match, 486 goals in 81 appearances for the Tigers, Joel ‘Burger’ Fitzgerald will be a headache for whoever gets assigned the task of trying to rein him in.
The X-factor could be another EP player in Tom Davey. Could he shed the backman’s role (to which he seems to have become accustomed to this year) to be cast forward in the mould of the Crows’ premiership hero Shane Ellen?
He certainly has the ability to negate the deep defenders and kick a swag of goals from long range – he has done it more than once before.
Who will win? You best get to the footy at Cowell on Saturday.