So with the AFL closing its doors until at least May 31, we will soon begin to hear from the clubs that won’t make it through this crisis.
The Power were another team that simply held its ground in 2019 and went nowhere.
Twelve wins in 2018 were followed by 11 wins in 2019 with a few extra points for, and a few extra points against, but finishing tenth again.
With nine new players introduced to the team in 2019 – including three millennium babies – the Port Adelaide stocks appear to be on the rise. The debutants included the outstanding Connor Rozee, Xavier Duursma and Zak Butters and imports Scott Lycett and Ryan Burton.
In addition, 2018 recruits Tom Rockliff and Steven Motlop found their feet while Jack Watts fell by the wayside. Why, then, did the team not improve?
Was it the loss of 147-game player Chad Wingard to Hawthorn, combined with the sale of Jasper Pittard and Jared Polec to North Melbourne plus Jack Hombsch to the Gold Coast that caused the team to lack cohesion and not yet gel as a committed team?
Too many changes in too short a time can leave players lacking direction and 2020 may be a good time for Port Adelaide to consolidate, build on what they already have and all start pulling in the one direction.
No players have as yet left the club, but there are strong rumours that Paddy Ryder may be on the move as a result of Scott Lycett assuming the No.1 ruck mantle and there being plenty of back-up support available.
Personnel wise, the club is still well placed with current players Justin Westhoff, Travis Boak and Robbie Gray all inside Port Adelaide’s top 10 players of all time, although Westoff’s demotion to the twos during the year caused him to lose the mantle of the current AFL player who had played the most consecutive games.
He still managed 20 appearances for the season, as he has achieved every campaign since 2011. His goal scoring, however – booting only 12 – was the lowest total he had ever scored in his 13 years at the club, but that was due in part to the requirement for him to play a different role in 2019.
He still is a beacon at the club, having played the second most number of games and kicked the third most number of goals.
Travis Boak, who sits only four games behind Westhoff in third position on the Power’s top 100 all-time game players, had his best season since joining the club in 2007, the same year as Westhoff.
Both players are still two seasons away from passing Port Adelaide’s only 300-game player Kane Cornes, but at just over 31 years old and in career-best form, Boak would appear to be a good chance to usurp Cornes.
Robbie Gray, who had only his second sub 20-game tally for the year since changing his jumper number to nine in 2013, was also down on his average goal-kicking, dropping to below 1.5 per game.
At 31, he is unlikely to topple Warren Tredrea from the No.1 spot on the Power’s all-time top 100 goal-kickers list, but he has now built up a handy lead of 15 goals over No.3 on the list, Justin Westhoff.