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Footyology countdown: Powering closer to a premiership


Port Adelaide players, including a bandaged Brad Ebert, converge on Jared Polec after a goal against the Bulldogs last season. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Footyology countdown: Powering closer to a premiership

Rohan Connolly    

PORT ADELAIDE
2017 record: 14 wins, 9 losses (7th)
List age ranking (oldest to youngest): 6th
List experience ranking (most to fewest games): 2nd
Footyology draw ranking (easiest to hardest): 13th

THE INS
Jack Watts (Melbourne), Tom Rockliff (Brisbane), Steven Motlop (Geelong), Trent McKenzie (Gold Coast), Jack Trengove (Melbourne), Sam Hayes (Eastern Ranges), Kane Farrell (Bendigo Pioneers), Jake Patmore (Claremont), Joel Garner (Eastern Ranges), Dom Barry (Glenelg), Lindsay Thomas (North Melbourne)

THE OUTS
Jarman Impey (Hawthorn), Brendon Ah Chee (West Coast), Aaron Young (Gold Coast), Logan Austin (St Kilda), Matthew Lobbe (Carlton), Jackson Trengove (Western Bulldogs), Nathan Krakouer (retired), Angus Monfries (retired), Matt White (delisted), Jesse Palmer (delisted), Brett Eddy (delisted)

THE BEST 22
B: Darcy Byrne-Jones, Tom Clurey, Tom Jonas
HB: Hamish Hartlett, Dougal Howard, Dan Houston
C: Jared Polec, Ollie Wines, Steven Motlop
HF: Chad Wingard, Justin Westhoff, Travis Boak
F: Robbie Gray, Charlie Dixon, Sam Gray
Foll: Paddy Ryder, Brad Ebert, Tom Rockliff
Inter: Jack Watts, Sam Powell-Pepper, Matthew Broadbent, Jasper Pittard
Emerg: Karl Amon, Jack Hombsch, Trent McKenzie

THE PROGNOSIS
Few insults in football these days sting as much as being labelled a “flat track bully”, and Port Adelaide, a club whose whole tradition revolves around completely opposite values, would bristle more than most about it being applied to them.

Hard to argue with, though, given last year the Power won six out of seven games against the bottom five teams on the ladder by 70 points or more, only to finish a dismal 2-8 in 10 matches against top eight teams.

That’s the superficial view, anyway. Drill a bit further, however, and it becomes clear it won’t take coach Ken Hinkley too much adjustment for that ledger to swing substantially in the other direction. So much so that, having loaded up on experienced senior talent, some of us can see the Power doing something pretty special in 2018.

There’s no doubt the talent pool at Alberton now runs deep, the additions covering all bases and all parts of the field.

Tom Rockliff and Steven Motlop add more ball-winning ability and pace to a midfield which was already pretty well-stocked. Jack Watts has already shown through the JLT Series his potential value as a floating forward half goalkicking option.

Watts has always been a great user of the ball. Deployed near goal, those skills and smarts shape as major plusses. And the fresh start interstate and perhaps finally the shedding of that No.1 draft pick millstone might just be the final ingredient in his belated reaching his full potential.

In defence, Port has quietly assembled a formidable group which while low on profile, has been very effective. Former Sun Trent McKenzie can add plenty to it still with his booming kicking. And if Lindsay Thomas and Jack Trengove remain primarily depth players, they’re pretty capable reserves.

The added depth gives Hinkley this year even greater licence to use an army of would-be midfielders in a variety of roles, flexibility that was already added to the blend in 2017 with skipper Travis Boak spending more time forward and Hamish Hartlett coming out of defence.

In Robbie Gray and Chad Wingard he has among the two best of a very select band who are equally as dangerous playing in midfield or as smaller forwards. Throw in Brad Ebert, Ollie Wines, Jared Polec, Rockliff, Boak and Sam Powell-Pepper and you have a very imposing band of on-ballers.

That 2-8 record against top eight teams last season is also arguably a little misleading, too, given five of the eight defeats came by just 17 points or less, the heartbreaking elimination final defeat against West Coast even after the final siren.

And what doesn’t mislead is the final points tallies for last year, which had Port Adelaide ranked second only to Adelaide for points scored, and second only to Sydney for fewest points conceded. That’s a balance no other team was able to achieve.

At their best, the Power play an intoxicating brand of football. Their depth of talent and versatility is impressive. They’re ready to make a significant mark. And while the investment in “top-ups” for the here and now will, as always, be heavily scrutinised, it could pay off very handsomely indeed.

THE PREDICTION
2nd. An exciting team is Port. Seasoned, talented, and after some near-misses over the past few years, motivated. Every chance of delivering the ultimate prize this time.

THE LADDER SO FAR (click on team to read)
2. PORT ADELAIDE
3. RICHMOND
4. MELBOURNE
5. SYDNEY
6. GWS
7. GEELONG
8. ESSENDON
9. WESTERN BULLDOGS
10. HAWTHORN
11. COLLINGWOOD
12. ST KILDA
13. WEST COAST
14. NORTH MELBOURNE
15. BRISBANE
16. CARLTON
17. FREMANTLE
18. GOLD COAST

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4 Comments
  1. Are you tripping Rohan! Port have added 2 flaky forwards and a hard nut accumulator. They will be lucky to make the 8. Adelaide will slide too, losing their 3rd man up and Cameron, who was arguably their best player in the GF, cannot be overstated.

    Who is going to stop the Tigers? Hard as, super skilfull and chock full of belief. Back to back in a canter.

  2. This is most likely the most absurd assessment ever written.

  3. Rohan Connolly

    No, it’s really not Andrew. But let’s see.

  4. Rohan Connolly

    Not that it’s important, Nathan, but Cameron, for what it’s worth, didn’t make even the top 10 in Adelaide’s best and fairest last year, and on grand final day had 16 disposals and wasn’t named among their best half-dozen players. Think you’re overstating his worth a tad.

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