Port Adelaide are simply powering along
Power players Kane Mitchell, Justin Westhoff, Matthew Lobbe, Oliver Wines and Jackson Trengove celebrate their win during the match between Port Adelaide Power and the Adelaide Crows. (Photo: James Elsby/AFL Media)
Port Adelaide went into this season optimistic they would improve their performances both on and off the field.
That optimism wasn’t necessarily shared by the rest of the footy world after five underwhelming years at Alberton, where the has club at times almost become an irrelevance.
High profile television personality David Koch was coerced into the role as President, and has provided Port with some badly needed passion and enthusiasm.
Long serving assistant coach and former Geelong player Ken Hinkley was appointed coach after missing out on a number of other senior jobs in recent times.
It’s early days, but Hinkley is proving to be an astute appointment, with the Power undefeated after three matches and warm favourites to stay that way when they meet the Gold Coast on the weekend.
We will get a better idea in the next month or so, when Port start playing some of the more highly fancied teams, of whether they could be one of the big improvers this year.
So far they have thrashed two of the bottom teams in Melbourne and GWS, and their come-from-behind win over Adelaide indicated they are certainly getting better.
Their recruiting from the last few drafts seems to be playing a part, as a number of their early selections are starting to show why they were so sought after.
Hamish Hartlett was the fourth pick at the 2008 Draft. Over the past four seasons he has shown glimpses of his immense talent but injuries have restricted him. He appears to be the fittest he has ever been this season and is playing outstanding football.
Jackson Trengove and Matthew Broadbent were snared in the same draft and are progressing nicely.
Ruckman Matthew Lobbe, from the 2007 vintage, has taken time but is developing well, while 2006 has become a very successful draft year for Port with Travis Boak now the skipper and arguably the team’s best player.
Paul Stewart, Robbie Gray when fit, and Justin Westhoff were also selected then and are very important members in Port’s best side.
Chad Wingard was their first round pick in 2011 and has had a brilliant start to the season. So has their initial selection in last year’s draft Ollie Wines. The big bodied midfielder slipped through to number seven and is already averaging 22 possessions a game and has looked the part so far this season.
Other clubs like Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs whose recruiting records are vastly inferior to Port could have chosen Wines, but went elsewhere, with players such as Jimmy Toumpas, Jake Stringer and Jackson McCrae.
Their junior credentials were outstanding and they may turn out to be stars, but Wines is already the early favourite to win the rising star and it’s an outstanding achievement that he’s having such an impact already.
Port have also been canny and clever in trading from other clubs by picking up Brad Ebert from West Coast as well as former Bomber Angus Monfries, both of who are adding experience and class to this young and exciting midfield.
They are playing with freedom and style, along with self belief that they could produce something special under Hinkley, something that hasn’t been seen at Port for several seasons.
There’s a long way to go, but it looks like Port is quickly emerging from that fog which has hindered them for the past five seasons and are on their way to becoming a force again.
As the song says, they have the power to win again!
Dan Lonergan has a reputation as one Australia's most respected and versatile commentators. In more than 16 years as an ABC Grandstand broadcaster, Dan has covered AFL footy (including four Grand Finals), cricket, tennis, and three Olympic Games, including London 2012 where he commentated as many as 16 sports.