And Oliver sudden the Power and Dees might just play finals.
It’s a short round of AFL action, but the Demons trip to Adelaide to face Port on Friday night shapes up as must-watch.
Port Adelaide are supposed to be here, but Melbourne? Who would’ve thunk it. Ambitious punters picked them as a top eight chance, but here we are ahead of Round 14 with the Dees sitting top four.
Simon Goodwin’s squad was touched up against the Pies two weeks ago, a game that saw Clayton Oliver crack 30 or more disposals for the sixth time this year.
The Power, meanwhile, well they are rolling. A win on Friday night would mark three straight for Port, but not to be outdone, Oliver Wines also put up 35 disposals of his own last week.
So with major ladder implications on the line, who comes out on top?
Here’s a quick comparison between both players:
This time last year we were wondering if Wines would ever step up to the “elite” tier of attacking midfielders.
At just 23-years old, you’d forgive him for a few inconsistencies last season, but after ranking Top 20 in disposals by the end of 2017, Wines is right back alongside some of the competitions best once again.
With 324 next to his name, Wines has outperformed Patrick Dangerfield in the disposals department so far, but he’s also switched on in front of the sticks, tying his career high in goals (6).
Full credit to Ken Hinkley. Port looked lost six weeks ago, stumbling their way out of the eight with successive losses to Essendon and Geelong, highlighting a slight change in the midfield had to happen.
The transition of Chad Wingard to an attacking midfielder role has worked a treat for everyone, so much so that its helped Port string together a handful of wins.
The Power re-signed Wines this week, and he figures to step up as a future captain sometime soon. As far as Friday’s game goes, Wines isn’t far off the mark overall against the Demons, either.
In seven career games, the young gun is averaging 25.5 disposals vs. Melbourne, but he’s only cracked 28 or more vs. the Demons twice.
You only have to rewind to Port’s win over the Bulldogs to realise he is a much different player this season, though. He finished with 35 touches against the Dogs last week – a game that left Wines with a cauliflower ear and a blood-soaked pillow the next morning.
It’s hard not to like that kinda toughness from Wines. To some he may not be a Top 10 midfielder, but the fact he can dispose of the ball, take a mark inside fifty and bully his way out of a pack makes him one of the league’s best.
It sort’ve feels like everything Wines does, Oliver can do better. At just 20-years old, Melbourne’s midfielder led the competition in pre-clearance disposals last year, and finished third for tackles.
Oliver also had at least 24 disposals in the 22-games he played last season, setting the bright-eyed youngster up for a very promising future as the Dees go-to possession getter.
Against Port, Oliver has been sound. In two games he’s racked up 52 disposals and booted a goal, but it’s his performance two weeks ago against Collingwood that should have him riding high.
Matched up against a tough Pies defence, Oliver accounted for 31 of the Demons 371 disposals. With that kind of form, it’s going to be hard to ignore Oliver for All-Australian honours for the second year in a row.
For punters, the form of Oliver should fill you with confidence, but there’s no reason to doubt the Demons just because they’re on the road.
Melbourne have won their last two encounters against Port, and they rank number one in contested possessions for a reason.
That all spells good news for Oliver to put up 30 or more disposals, and it also places the Dees in prime position to win.
A lot of this battle will be won by the likes of Max Gawn in the ruck, but if Nathan Jones can keep Wines and Wingard under wraps, it should set up Oliver and the Dees to pounce on attack.