Why couldn’t Power wait until the end of the season?
Port Adelaide coach Matthew Primus (Slattery Images)
AFL football is a game of snap decisions. Rarely does a player get to feel completely relaxed and without pressure, particularly as the game seems to be played at a pace that seems to continually increase.
The wrong split second decision can have dire consequences, just ask Jack Ziebell. The best players in the AFL – or any sport – are those that can make good decisions consistently when under pressure.
However, this breakneck speed need not apply to how the club’s administration does business. Indeed, it’s much more constructive for the club to make decisions based on sober reflection rather than momentary whims.
Knowing this, it makes Port Adelaide’s decision on Matthew Primus all the more bizarre.
No one in their right mind would claim that Port Adelaide were on a finals bound trajectory in the way they were going, but looking at the 2012 season, you see that the Power had won five games and were sitting in 14th place.
Some of their wins came against quality teams like St. Kilda, North Melbourne and Carlton.
Furthermore, their heaviest loss was by only 58 points. This is more than can be said for several teams above them on the table.
So the first question that must be asked is, was Primus kicked out for the season’s performances? Or was he kicked out because of a weak performance against an expansion side who had nothing to lose in a milestone game for the coach?
Because if it’s the latter, it does not seem like a sober judgement to me.
But just suppose Port Adelaide were doing this out of frustration for their season’s efforts. Why notify him now with four rounds to go and thus leave Primus with little choice but to leave?
I realise the club gave him the ‘choice’ to keep on coaching them for the rest of the 2012 season, but that really is not much of a choice after all.
At the end of the year, the club could have sat down and reflected upon the year, much like Brisbane did with Michael Voss, and come to a conclusion that would have satisfied everyone.
Instead, they have a caretaker coach and their leading midfielder is now reconsidering his prospects at Geelong.
There is no doubt football is a ruthless enterprise. Primus said as much during his farewell conference.
But those who are ruthless indiscriminately lose far, far more than those who are cautious with their culling.