Back to Adelaide and we’re now turning our focus onto the Alberton based Port Adelaide Football Club and how their season has panned out so far.
Pre-Season Prediction: 7th
Current Position: 9th
Top 8 Odds: $7 (via TopSport)
For the second year running I put Port Adelaide in my top eight at the start of the season and for the second time it’s come back to bite me. Despite all the talent on Port Adelaide’s list, they have failed to deliver again this season. So what’s going on with the Power?
Their season started so up and down with 33 and 61 point wins over St Kilda and Essendon but then 58 and 86 point losses to Adelaide and GWS. That’s how most of their season has gone so far, most of their wins are quite big, but their losses are just as bad, albeit a three-point loss to the Bulldogs in round 12 and a 8 point loss to West Coast in round 9.
In recent weeks, they have started to turn the tide, but the top eight is virtually gone, and that’s the case for every bottom ten club. The eight is pretty much set and its all about finishing as high as they can now for Port Adelaide as they look ahead to next season.
It could be a big summer for those involved with Port Adelaide, do they chase free agency? Sack their coach? Take their chances at the draft? There’s a lot to sort out on the field.
What’s Gone Right
Just like St Kilda, Port Adelaide base their game around pressure and forcing teams into mistakes. It was the backbone of their success in 2014, but has lacked elements in the last two years. 2016 though has brought them good tackle numbers. Port Adelaide are the second best tackling side in the competition with 78 tackles a game, only bettered by Sydney with 85. Brad Ebert, Ollie Wines and Sam Gray are the tackle kings at the Power, each averaging a whopping six a game.
Port Adelaide’s wins have been big this season and with that brings decent inside 50 numbers. They average 56 a game, the seventh best in the competition, the best of the bottom ten clubs. They’re accurate in front of goal as well, going at a rate of 52 per cent, also ranked seventh in the league.
Port Adelaide are also a decent scoring side from stoppages which is a result of their lack of a number one ruckman. Losing the hitouts clearly has helped them change their setup at stoppages and has resulted in the club regaining its tough edge. During the rounds of 6-10, Port Adelaide increased their scoring from stoppages, rising to second in the league.
What’s Gone Wrong
Port Adelaide aren’t getting their hands on the ball enough of the time and its seen them rank third worst in the league for disposals with just 361.1 per game. When they do have it, they’re using it poorly as well, going at a rate of just 71 per cent efficiency, also the third worst in the league. As a consequence and it is inevitable, Port turn the ball over far too much, averaging close to 70 turnovers a game, the fourth worst in the league.
Jack Hombsch, Darcy Byrne-Jones and Tom Jonas are the only Port players who use the ball above 80 per cent efficiency. Most teams have twice this amount, so Port need more from players such as Hamish Hartlett, Jarman Impey, Brad Ebert, Sam Gray and Ollie Wines who are going under 70 per cent which isn’t good enough.
This leads me to talk about another one of their problems. Port’s top end talent just hasn’t been good enough over the past two years. Hartlett is having a stinker of a season, Travis Boak isn’t at his usual best and Brad Ebert is probably in a run of his worst form since arriving at the club. Ebert and Ollie Wines are ranked one and two for the most clangers so far this season. These players have been hyped up for so long now and they need to deliver in order to take their club forward.
Jasper Pittard has been a revelation this season, perform beautifully off half-back. The rebounding defender is ranked second in the competition for metres gained (618), while he’s also averaging a career-high 24 disposals, five score involvements, five rebounds, six intercept possessions and 96 ranking points a game.
There has only been one game where Pittard has had 20 or less disposals, highlighting his consistency in a very inconsistent team as a whole. There’s quite a few defenders in line for All-Australian selection and Pittard is certaintly among the contenders.
Charlie Dixon has been a pretty handy recruit for the Power, sitting 13th on the Coleman Medal table with 29 goals. Along with that, Dixon ranks 10th in the competition for average contested marks with 2.2 per game. Dixon kicked 41 goals last year in 16 games so he is definitely on track to break his personal best at the end of 2016.
Jimmy Toumpas recruited from Melbourne has been poor. He played six of the first seven games before being dropped to the SANFL where he has been since. He has also yet to convince Ken Hinkley to bring him back into the side, performing poorly for the twos.