What can we make of the Power in 2017?

Zac Standish Roar Pro

By Zac Standish, Zac Standish is a Roar Pro


15 Have your say

    What a season it has been.

    From the draws to the classics and everything in between, season 2017 has been nothing short of a rollercoaster of emotions, with most teams experiencing periods of immense highs and crushing lows.

    In a season defined by unpredictability, no team typifies the word more than Port Adelaide, who at 9-6 look set to come back to September for the first time in three seasons.

    However, despite this impressive record many question marks still surround Ken Hinkley’s team as they are still yet to defeat a top eight side (West Coast were out of the eight before their clash) in 2017.

    So, how far can Port go this season?

    At their best the Power are one of the competitions most exciting teams with their fast-paced ball movement and ability to kick high scores resulting in them having one of the competitions best percentages.

    Jasper Pittard Port Adelaide Power AFL 2015

    (AAP Image/Ben Macmahon)

    This has been highlighted by big wins against Fremantle, Carlton, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Hawthorn where the Power were able to score over 100 points on all bar one occasion as well as kept their opposition below 70.

    Along with these crushing wins, the Power have also notched up solid wins against good sides such as West Coast, Sydney, and Collingwood, all matches that Port would have seen as 50/50 games.

    This improvement in the Power’s form can be put down to a slight adjustment in their game plan as well as a greater hunger to win and avoidance of the complacency that saw them lose games they should have won in the past.

    In terms of stats Port have again improved in most major indicators, being ranked third in contested possessions, second in clearances, first in inside 50s and third in overall points scored.

    These impressive stats should see the Power firmly entrenched in the top four and well and truly in contention for a premiership.

    However, this is not the case thus far in 2017 as although many have talked up the Power they typically aren’t seen as one of the competitions elite sides.

    This is due to their inability to win against good teams and respond when a side challenges them, especially at the pointy end of matches.

    This has been evident in games against Adelaide, GWS, West Coast, Geelong, Essendon and Richmond as in just about all of these games Port were in a position to win and simply could not get it done when the pressure was on.

    Considering the manner by which finals are played, this is a big problem for both Ken Hinkley and the players themselves as it indicates that their current list simply is not good enough to win a premiership.

    So why can’t they win games against the competitions top end?

    In a competition where the star players are relatively spread out among the 18 teams, the bottom six (your six worst players) is what separates the good sides from the elite. At the moment, Port’s bottom end simply isn’t good enough to contend with a number of inexperienced players getting their first taste of AFL football.

    Although having this youth in the side is not necessarily a bad thing it means that for now the Power are not quite ready to overcome their issues and become a true premiership contender.

    Players such as Dan Houston, Joe Atley, Matt White, Tom Clurey, Darcy Byrne-Jones, Sam Powell-Pepper and Sam Gray make up the bottom tier of players in Port’s best 22, which compared to the likes of Adelaide, GWS and Geelong simply does not stack up and is the reason for their inability to claim a genuine scalp thus far in 2017.

    With matches against North Melbourne (H), Melbourne (A), St Kilda (H), Adelaide (A), Collingwood (H), Western Bulldogs (A) and Gold Coast (H), Port still have time to work this problem out and give their younger players even more experience in finals type games such as the Showdown.

    Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley

    (Image: AFL Media)

    Looking at the draw coming up, the Power should expect to claim a position in the top four and a double chance, as their fast paced game style and scoring firepower should see them overpower the likes of North, Collingwood, the Bulldogs and Gold Coast. However, in order to truly break the pretender tag they simply must win at least two of Melbourne, Adelaide and St Kilda.

    In a season where the Power were seen by many as a bottom 6-7 side and Ken Hinkley’s job was well and truly on the line it is safe to say 2017 will be a success no matter what happens come September. However, with such inexperience the Power simply aren’t ready to truly contend for the premiership in 2017 and should be looking at 2018 and beyond as a window to push for that illusive second premiership.

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    The Crowd Says (15)

    • July 16th 2017 @ 3:27am
      powa said | July 16th 2017 @ 3:27am | ! Report

      all accurate, although I would say Matt White when in form is a very good player, and DBJ is quite good for the amount of games he has played, just needs consistency

      • July 16th 2017 @ 4:08am
        Slane said | July 16th 2017 @ 4:08am | ! Report

        I was spewing when he left the Tigers. The only player on our list(at the time) who had any pace. Massive victim of the sub rule. Hardwick was using him as the sub almost every week.

    • July 16th 2017 @ 10:00am
      Kaiden said | July 16th 2017 @ 10:00am | ! Report

      You predict they finish in the top four and you’re also saying they shouldn’t be looking for a premiership this year? What would the point be finishing in the top four then? Port Adelaide I think have shown that they clearly have the ability to play in big games. Lost by two points against Geelong in Geelong, were beating GWS at 3QT (inexcusable final quarter though) and were in it the whole way against Adelaide who were at their peak (in my opinion). Why should they give up on the idea that they can win the flag this year? I’m not tipping them to do so but I’d certainly say they’re a better chance than GWS. Geelong are favourites in my book. Followed by Adelaide then Port Adelaide. :^)

      • Roar Pro

        July 17th 2017 @ 12:42am
        Zac Standish said | July 17th 2017 @ 12:42am | ! Report

        With the draw they have to come, Port should be looking at a top four spot. However, I don’t feel they are a genuine contender as they are yet to beat any of the competitions best sides

      • July 17th 2017 @ 10:47am
        Gecko said | July 17th 2017 @ 10:47am | ! Report

        I agree with Zac. Port’s bottom 6 are ordinary. This plus their inability to rebound under pressure will find them wanting in September. In fact, they’re very similar to Richmond, with whom they’ll compete for a top 4 finish.

    • July 16th 2017 @ 11:54am
      Sir Col in paradise said | July 16th 2017 @ 11:54am | ! Report

      There are 7 teams in it now – the top 4 and Sydney, Port and tigers – unless they choke against the Lions today !!!

    • July 16th 2017 @ 12:26pm
      peter chrisp said | July 16th 2017 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

      Unless The Tigers choke against The Lions now that would be amazing couldn’t see it really happening

    • July 16th 2017 @ 3:24pm
      Powerboy said | July 16th 2017 @ 3:24pm | ! Report

      I would suggest the author takes another look at those players named as part of Port’s bottom six. If they are so bad, why are they keeping players such as Monfries, Hombsch, Ah Chee and others out of their top 22? Sam Gray kicked four goals on Saturday. Pepper-Powell, S., WILL win the rising star. Houston and Clurey are very young key backmen playing in the tightest back six in the league – percentage alone testifies to this. What a baseless article this is. Port Adelaide have had one blowout this year – against Essendon – and have been in every other match they have played.
      I suggest those who doubt the Power have not been watching their matches consistently this year. What will become apparent, as the year goes on, is that when the wide open spaces of Adelaide oval and the MCG beckon during the pointy end of proceedings just about every opponent they face will be asking how they are going to stop the Power’s speed. Maybe a few pundits will then know why chaps like White, M. and Gray, S., among others, are there.

      • Roar Pro

        July 17th 2017 @ 12:44am
        Zac Standish said | July 17th 2017 @ 12:44am | ! Report

        Firstly, I was not saying they are “so bad” i’m just saying that Port’s bottom six does not stack up against the likes of Adelaide, Geelong, GWS and Sydney. Also before you get all excited about the Power’s chances let them beat a top eight side.

    • July 16th 2017 @ 6:14pm
      Ditto said | July 16th 2017 @ 6:14pm | ! Report

      Pound for pound Port may be the best team in the competion,but structurally they can be found out against the better teams. They have a lot of very good inside type mids, against lesser teams they simply out muscle and use the ball better in tight, they dominate and win big. Against better teams they have only one genuine quality outside mid in Jared Polec,with Trengrove playing forward, their defence is a little under sized and Westoff seemingly has to be everywhere. If teams can get the ball going on the outside and hit targets then Port are in trouble, players like Boak and Ebert are quality players, but struggle to keep up, so good teams ultimately end up having more exploitable weapons and win by a smallish margin.

      • July 17th 2017 @ 12:17am
        dan ced said | July 17th 2017 @ 12:17am | ! Report

        I agree with this assessment. As a Crows fan I’ve been impressed with Port (apart from the 1 game I attended vs Carlton which was horrible for both sides), but they don’t feel like their up at the level of GWS, Geelong, Adelaide, and I suppose Sydney now. At least they are looking competitive most of the time compared to the previous 2 years.

      • Roar Guru

        July 17th 2017 @ 2:54pm
        Cat said | July 17th 2017 @ 2:54pm | ! Report

        And next year the weight of expectation and a harder draw will see them fall back down to repeat the cycle again.

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