In the lead up to the 2017 season, we will be assessing each club’s list and naming our best 22 for round one. Working our way up the ladder; following the analysis of Melbourne, the next cab off the rank is Port Adelaide.
Zero Hanger 2017 ladder prediction: 14th
2016 was another disappointing season for the Power. Their slide down the table continued as they finished 10th. It has been a dramatic fall from grace since their narrow 2014 preliminary finals loss to Hawthorn.
It was clear to most that Port needed to get some good young players into this team. They tried to do that by offering up Matthew Lobbe and Hamish Hartlett for trade, but nobody was willing to take on their contracts. Trading away their 2017 first pick means Hinkley must think they are ready to push into finals once again this season.
Port have put together a good group of key position players in forward and defence, meaning they should be able to cover the losses of Jay Schulz and Alipate Carlile. Jack Hombsch, Logan Austin and Tom Jonas are all sturdy defenders. Jackson Trengove was inspiring in the ruck last season, but with the return of Patrick Ryder he can slide back into defence. Up forward, Westhoff is as reliable as ever, but this has to be the season for Dixon, since his breakout year in 2013, his stats have been falling alarmingly. If this Port side can improve around him then 2017 needs to be his year.
Port have a large contingent of quick players that thrive under Hinkley’s attacking game style. With Pittard, Gray, Impey and Wingard they have quick players on all lines. White comes back from injury after he was sorely missed last season. Sam Powell-Pepper also adds to the grunt they possess on the inside with Wines and Boak, he makes it straight into our 22 starting on the bench.
Fitness was the key component in Port’s rise up the table in 2014 and they have been caught by the pack in the last two seasons. Along with that, the best opposition sides seem to have figured out the Power’s game plan and have defeated them easily. Last season in matches against sides who finished above them on the ladder, Port won only one game (North rd.17), losing ten at an average margin of 35.9 points. If the Power are going to climb up the ladder, then Hinkley needs to develop a plan B that can be competitive against the top teams.
Many of Port’s key players had poor seasons in 2016. Travis Boak, Hamish Hartlett and Brad Ebert were all down on their disposals from previous seasons, their numbers have dramatically dropped away. Whether this trend will continue or can be reversed will be haunting Ken Hinkley, it will be a major factor in whether the Power can make finals.
Projected Port Adelaide 2017 round one best 22:
FB: Darcy Byrne-Jones, Jack Hombsch, Tom Jonas
C: Jared Polec, Travis Boak, Brad Ebert
FF: Chad Wingard, Charlie Dixon, Angus Monfries
I/C: Hamish Hartlett, Sam Powell-Pepper, Matt White, Sam Gray