On Thursday night, Port Adelaide were beaten by a clinical Geelong outfit by 21 points, and since the loss, questions have started to be asked about how much of a genuine contender this Power outfit actually is.
At the completion of their 2020 campaign which saw them stay at the top of the ladder in every round of the season before ultimately falling just short of their quest for a premiership in a thrilling preliminary final loss to Richmond, Port Adelaide were touted by many as a top-four lock and a genuine contender for the premiership in 2021, building off the growth and promise shown in 2020.
So far in 2021, the Power have an 8-4 record and currently sit 5th on the AFL ladder. Not the worst start to a year at all, sure, but the questions arising about their premiership claims are not about the teams that the Power have beaten, but yet who they haven’t beaten.
Taking a further look into the Power’s wins and losses so far in 2021 and the ladder positions of those teams, you can see why the question is asked.
The Power’s eight wins so far in 2021 have come against North Melbourne (18th), Collingwood (16th), Adelaide (15th), Carlton (14th), St Kilda (12th), Fremantle (11th), Essendon (9th) and Richmond (8th).
Long-story-short, the Power have done the job against the teams they should, that are currently in the bottom half of the ladder, but besides defeating the reigning premiers in Richmond, are yet to beat another team inside the top eight.
With a 1-4 record against teams currently inside the top eight, the questions about their premiership chances are real and is definitely an area of concern if they are to act on the hype surrounding them after such an impressive 2020 campaign.
Each time they were challenged in 2020 by another premiership hopeful, they took it in their stride and stood up and embraced the challenge, winning on most occasions. In 2021 though, the same can’t be said.
Where they’ve dominated the teams in the bottom half of the ladder as they should, it’s been a polar opposite against the top tier teams, with the Power unable to string together any form of consistent play during those games, being found out defensively on a number of occasions by some of the more classier outfits.
The Power have also had key injuries this year to some of their most promising young stars, particularly Zak Butters, Conor Rozee and Xavier Duursma, as opposed to being one of the healthiest teams in 2020. But the injuries excuse can be said just about every other team as well in some capacity.
The Power have struggled against the top-tier teams of the competition in 2021 and if they are to start pressing their claim as a flag hopeful and hush the noise around their struggles against fellow top eight teams, they will need a big second half of the year and will need to start consistently beating the teams around them, just as they did last year.