Welcome to the top four. We are in the endgame now.
Port Adelaide’s pre-season is now done and dusted with attention now turning to fine-tuning things for Round 1 against North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium.
Port Adelaide played two pre-season matches, both against the Adelaide Crows, and both times Port was head and shoulders above their cross-town rivals. Pre-season wins mean next to nothing as a side with a good off-season can have a bad year.
With that being said, having a good pre-season is by no way a burden but the fact that Port played last year’s wooden spooners, who are going through a rebuild, does make seeing how much progress they have made a little tricky.
The additions of Aliir Aliir and Orazio Fantasia look to be good additions, but again, it is pre-season and when you look at the team, you can essentially take the Power’s 71-point win with a grain of salt.
So that brings us to the regular season and Port Adelaide’s first four games: North Melbourne, Essendon, West Coast and the reigning premiers Richmond.
Based on last year’s performances you could easily justify Port going 2-2 in the first month and without any real evidence to suggest Port have improved, aside from two games against the Crows, it is hard for anyone to know what we are going to get.
I see Port winning their first two games given North is in a rebuilding phase and Essendon, although they pushed Geelong in their AAMI Series match, just are not on Port Adelaide’s level.
Then that brings us to West Coast and Richmond. Over the last couple of seasons, Port has had a good record over in the west against the Eagles but anytime you have to face Adam Simpson’s side over there, it is going to be a tough ask.
That brings us to Richmond. Playing them in Adelaide does help, although it did not count for much in the preliminary final last year. But still, losing by a kick to the side that has been the best for the last four years is nothing to be ashamed about.
Ideally, Port would win both and start 4-0 however we all know that is not going to happen. A 3-1 start from the Power would be seen as a good foundation for the season ahead. Everything looked to be clicking on Sunday and just going off that alone, Port should be right in the mix for top four and even more, despite their opposition.
Ball movement, structures, personnel and game plan all were on point so at least we have something to be confident about heading into 2021. It feels like this is Port Adelaide’s best chance at a flag since the early 2000s when they were at the peak of their powers.
Although a lot will rely on injuries as we have seen so many players across the competition go down already. The Power seems perfectly balanced to have a genuine tilt at a premiership in 2021.