Port Adelaide: You get what you deserve

Port Adelaide
01 Sep, 2018 by Liam Sheedy

Port Adelaide is not winning the Premiership. They’re not finishing top four and not participating in finals football.

The 22 point loss to Essendon last Friday night was the final nail in the coffin of a disastrous 2018 season. Sadly another failed season to add to the string of recent on-field failures out of Alberton in the last decade.

No finals win since 2014 and failure to qualify for finals three out of the last four seasons. No finals footy seven out of the last ten years is a trend impossible to dismiss.

For a club that has the motto “We exist to win Premierships”, it is time for Port Adelaide to put up or shut up.

President supports Ken

The contract extension for Ken Hinkley last year requires examination. Already under contract for 2018 and no finals in two out of the last three seasons. What justification was there for the senior coach be rewarded with a new deal?

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On radio last week David Koch threw his support behind Hinkley. This was inevitable given he was involved in ludicrously extending this contract but it was an underwhelming interview.

The Sunrise host talked about Port Adelaide having a history of high performance. That may have been true in days gone by but it is hard to swallow this statement when analysing current results.

Simply look at the coaches and players who continue to be rewarded with contract extensions and getting games at AFL level without any notable success in recent years.

Stability certainly is important, as we are constantly reminded, but as the President himself rightly pointed out We’re in a performance industry.”

If performance consistently falls short of the mark, then criticism directed towards players, coaches and administrators is valid and warranted.

Let me entertain you

What has become sadly apparent watching Port Adelaide in 2018 is they are one of the most boring teams in the competition.

If you have gone to Adelaide Oval this season, you enjoy holding your scarf up during NTUA for the pre-game anthem. But then the boring part starts, the football.

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A combination of poor skills, which have not improved in four seasons, and minimal scoring is not the recipe for crowd engagement.

The Power averaged a meagre 11.8 goals per match this year. Round 13 was the last time they managed a score over 100 points.

On SEN radio last week David King did not hold back in his criticism on the game style transformation under Ken Hinkley.

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I think Ken Hinkley’s disarmed Port Adelaide. Last year they were top four for contested possession, this year – 10th or 11th. For locking the ball in your forward half, they were number one, now they sit 13th.The second best attack’s become the 13th best attack. To be honest with you, I have no idea who Port Adelaide are now.”

The game plan will be dissected in the off-season and I am in no position of authority to tell the coaching staff what they should do.

My only suggestion would be if the brain trust can conjure up a style of play that keeps those of us attending awake I would be most appreciative.

The current Port Adelaide is a cure for insomnia.

A divided fan base

Scrolling through social media you observe a wide range of emotions and opinions from the faithful on what has gone wrong.

Players, coaches, recruitment, game plan, team selection, management. You name it and is under the spotlight!

Unfortunately while many ask genuine questions based on facts and statistical evidence, you will still get those fans who will not allow any criticism.
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All teams have these fans who only see through rose coloured glasses.

These strange people remind us of what it was like back in 2012. Port had 13,000 turning up to games and tarps so things are much better now.

I must have missed the memo that this is now a measure of success.

Apparently not winning a final for four seasons is down to simple bad luck. VFL conspiracy theories are to blame against poor Ken and the boys.

“Oh we lost that game just and that Josh Jenkins post and that naughty umpire does not like us and remember we had a player injured in that one game.”

Is this how far expectation and standards for this once great club has fallen?

Ten AFL clubs have managed to win a final since Port last tasted victory in a final. Melbourne and Collingwood potentially added to that list this year.

We all acknowledge things are better than 2012. But winning more than five games and not having tarps is no cause for celebration.

That is an acceptance of mediocrity that goes against all the values this great club is built on.

Accountability & Change

Brendon Lade, Matthew Nicks and Aaron Greaves are confirmed departures from the coaching panel and will need to be replaced in the off-season.

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Former Premiership player Jarrad Schofield is one name who has been touted as a potential arrival.

Sturt senior coach Marty Mattner, another in high demand who has been linked with a move to Alberton.

On-field the leadership group that has continually failed to stand up when the pressure is on must be held to account.

Ollie Wines taking over as skipper seemed a foregone conclusion mid-year but a poor finish to the season may scupper those plans.

It is a reasonable expectation that the exact same leadership group cannot be in place next year.

List changes

Changes to the playing list have already transpired. Not surprisingly Lindsay Thomas announced his retirement last weekend.

On Tuesday it was confirmed Jimmy Toumpas and Emmanuel Irra would not be offered new deals.

The delisting of Toumpas is an obvious one. He has not played a single AFL game this year. He is not the reason for poor results at AFL level.

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Parting ways with Jake Neade should be another easy decision and the majority of the rookies will be feeling nervous.

The stars are not likely to be traded despite the Victorian media linking Chad Wingard with a move.  

Senior players should be shopped around in the trade period. Brad Ebert, Jasper Pittard and  Sam Gray while not superstars could help generate some extra draft picks.

What does the Power need? A backup ruckman will certainly be on the cards for next season. And Scott Lycett has been linked to Alberton.

Outside run and class will be high on the agenda if Jared Polec departs for North Melbourne.

With the Power ranked lowly for disposal efficiency, players who have the ability to kick would also be a welcome addition.

Time for action at Port Adelaide

This week David Koch announced there would be a full review of all operations.

“We have to look at a whole of club. Reset after the disappointment of this year. We’re not afraid to do that.”

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Many of the poor decisions at the club have been made internally by those who are still present.

In the interest of transparency and credibility, this review must be conducted externally.

We need to see real change beyond the hierarchy simply telling us they are going to work harder or they are learning. Either we have poor teachers or slow learners at Alberton.

Time does not stand still and before we know it the 2019 season will be here. Supporters will be expected to buy memberships, buy merchandise, support the club, attend functions, purchase raffle tickets and everything else that goes along with being a football club member.

The reality is that Port Adelaide fans deserve more in return than what they are currently getting. Over to you Port Adelaide, give us a reason to believe again.

by Liam Sheedycontributor
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