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Opinion

Five reasons to watch Port Adelaide in 2020

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Roar Pro
27th January, 2020
11

Seeking an in-depth analysis of each club’s chances in 2020? You’ve come to the wrong place. Looking for an off-kilter and slightly unhinged reason to watch each club in 2020? Step into my office.

Sam Powell-Pepper
In Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom Andy Dwyer and Ron Howard’s daughter – let’s be honest, their actual character names aren’t important – are trapped in a concrete cell while a clandestine auction takes place nearby with a generic supervillain selling off mutant dino murder weapons to a ragtag collection of bidders.

Enter ‘Stiggy’. Bear with me here. With a hard-hitting bald dome, this prehistoric battering ram busts through the walls of the cell to free our protagonists, wreaks havoc on the auction and generally saves the day.

Powell-Pepper is for all intents and purposes ‘Stiggy’. Need proof? How about this pre-2016 draft profile: “Is renowned for his bash-and-crash style and often operates at a million miles an hour. As a result, he doesn’t always stop to slow down and sum up the situation in front of him”.

Want more? In Round 14, 2018, he had 17 tackles against Melbourne, breaking the club record held by Dom Cassisi. He’s big-bodied, served a 57-game apprenticeship and is ready to metaphorically headbutt his way through walls for Port Adelaide in 2020.

Sam Powell-Pepper

(Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Xavier Duursma
When you win a 100-metre sprint in what appears to be a small-time school athletics event and arrow the everlasting bejesus out of your rivals in the last five metres, you’ve obviously honed some Hawkeye level of swagger from a young age.

When you’re playing your first season of AFL football and your side is four goals in arrears against the Tigers, you mark the ball, slot an admittedly tough chance from the pocket and Robin Hood it to the crowd, you’ve got some Iron Man level of swagger. The media lost their minds.

Duursma sipped the tea a la Baby Yoda in the aftermath of it all. Let’s be honest, it was hardly Elijah Moore in the Egg Bowl for Ole Miss territory. All he really needs is a teammate to commit to the bit like EJ Floreal did for Jamal Murray at the Kentucky Wildcats.

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Ken Hinkley’s on board with it all, saying: “If you ask me, the kids inside the arena are pretty excited about it. I love the bow-and-arrow”.

And why wouldn’t he be? Across 20 games in his debut season Duursma averaged 19.6 touches and kicked 11 goals. Arab Archery: Book on the Excellence of the Bow and Arrow states a quiver should carry 25 to 30 arrows. Here’s hoping Xavier gets through a full clip of celebrations in 2020.

Xavier Duursma

(Will Russell/AFL Photos/Getty Images)

Justin Westhoff
On the cusp of the 2020 season Justin Westhoff will sit down, pull out the upcoming season fixture, reach for his favourite Q Workshop dwarven metal dice set and roll them. Whatever the total is, that’s the round he’ll kick a bag of goals. He’ll repeat the dose. Whatever the total is, that’s the round he’ll gather 30 touches on the wing. Once more he’ll backgammon the everlasting Yahtzee out of the dice. Whatever the total is, that’s the round he’ll stroll around in the ruck and break opposition hearts.

On and on he’ll go, mapping out his season as Port Adelaide’s Mr Fix-It, as he’s done every year since 2007. You never know quite what you’ll get with the seeming ageless Hoff, and fans of the much-loved cult figure wouldn’t have it any other way. Hailing from the Barossa Valley, he’s matured like a quality Penfolds Grange. That is, quite well, going by his best and fairest win in 2018. Father Time will have to wait a bit longer for Justin to spoil.

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Ollie Wines
Port Adelaide doesn’t care what you think of how a football club should operate or what they should or should not let players do. Ollie Wines (mostly) doesn’t care what you think of him or his off-season actions. However. Most people wouldn’t think of going wakeboarding on Australia Day when they’re staring down the barrel of a season as co-captain of an AFL team.

And holy forking shirtballs did Ollie find himself being kicked in the behind in the Bad Place in 2019. After overcoming his dislocated shoulder he broke his leg in Round 7 just two weeks after racking up 35 touches against West Coast, and then he broke his thumb in Round 17 after consecutive games of 34 and 32 touches.

The still-young contested-ball fiend is surely back on his way to the Good Place following a presumably morally righteous off-season. At the very least Port fans will be glad he’s not shacked up with Mindy St Claire in an eternal funk of mediocrity.

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Prison bars/What’s in a name?
The bars are back in town, and down at Dino’s Bar n Grill, Kochie’s drinks are flowing. El Presidente himself confirmed the news at Port Adelaide’s 2019 best and fairest, noting: “We will elevate our Prison Bars on the national stage when we play the Crows in our home Showdown … The Prison Bars are an icon of our football club. And we intend to protect their legacy and celebrate their importance in our 150th year”.

Speaking of protecting legacies, in late 2019 Port Adelaide issued a media statement regarding coverage of the side. They are not Port. Nor Port Power. Ignore the fact that their club song contains the lines: “We are the Power from Port,” and “Port Power to win, we’ll never give in”. Logic has no place in this. They are ‘Port Adelaide’. Or, ‘The Power’. And under no circumstances are you to misuse these names. There’s no indication of how indiscretions will be punished, but presumably David Koch has a crack squad of trained meteorologists waiting to rain down teal lightning bolts at offenders.

Football clubs set themselves up for seasons in different ways. This might be the most unique yet. There’s an omen for 2020 in there somewhere. If only we had enough Port Power stored up to interpret it.