Season Review: Port Adelaide 2010

Highlights:

Port Adelaide started the season in a bright manner, winning the first two games against North Melbourne at home and West Coast at Subiaco Oval. The match against the Eagles was full of fight and courage, with Jason Davenport scoring four goals in the final quarter to lift his side to a narrow three point victory.

The Round 5 match against St Kilda was one that many expected the Saints to win. Despite being played at AAMI Stadium, the Saints were heavy favourites after the Power had been comprehensively flogged by Geelong the week before. It looked like everything was going St Kilda’s way early, with the Saints leading by 15 points at the first break. The Power slowly crept back into the game, reducing the margin at half time before it was just six points in it at the final break. A 3.1 to 0.3 final quarter saw Port Adelaide grab the lead and win by 10 points, a very unexpected victory, further highlighted by the form of David Rodan. In just his second game back from radical knee surgery, Rodan blitzed the St Kilda midfield with 27 possessions, seven clearances and a goal to take out the Peter Badcoe VC medal.

Any victory against the Crows in a season is definitely a highlight for Port Adelaide, and they managed to win both encounters between the two South Australian sides during the year. First in Round 6, where the winless Crows lead at each change up until three quarter time. Trailing by seven points in the final quarter, the Power banged on five goals in succession to take the lead and the four points, winning by 23 points in the end, with Robbie Gray taking out the Showdown Medal with 5.4, including the final two of the match that sealed the deal. The other victory over their arch-enemy came in Round 17 on a Sunday evening, where the Power controlled much of the game, leading a scrappy game by 27 points at the final change, before the Crows stormed back into the game, reducing the margin to just 14. David Rodan sealed the win with a classy goal however, and Port prevailed by 19 points, Matthew Primus’ first win as caretaker coach, and also Josh Carr’s final game. Dom Cassisi won the Showdown Medal with 28 disposals, 12 tackles and five clearances.

The Round 17 Showdown win sparked a run of five wins from the final six games of the season under caretaker coach Matthew Primus, which assured him of winning the outright coaching position for the next season. Round 18 saw Port upset Hawthorn at AAMI Stadium, putting a massive dent in the Hawks’ top four hopes. The Power came from 18 points down late in the third quarter to record the eight point victory. In Round 20, Port Adelaide fought off a West Coast Eagles comeback late in the final quarter at AAMI Stadium, with a David Rodan behind in the last moments of the game being the difference in the end, before a deadly accurate side ended Melbourne’s faint finals hopes in Round 21 at home thanks to a dominant 7.4 to 3.1 third quarter. In the final game of the season, Port hosted an emotional Richmond side that were gunning for a win to celebrate Ben Cousins’ final game. They were in for a rude awakening, with the Power kicking 10.2 to 1.3 in the second quarter to lead by 55 points at the main break. The Tigers fought back though, and managed to get within a goal late in the game but the Power snuffed out any late heroics, winning by 10 points.

Lowlights:

The lowlights came too frequently for Port Adelaide, and many questions were asked after the Round 4 embarrassment against Geelong at Kardinia Park. With the Cats firing on all cylinders, Port flopped and were defeated by 95 points.

With punters and experts predicting a winless season for the struggling Richmond outfit, Port were expected to brush aside the Tigers at AAMI Stadium in tough conditions. As it turned out, Port Adelaide put up a stinker, getting thrashed by the resurgent Richmond side by 47 points in terrible conditions.

A nine-game losing streak between Rounds 8 and 16 snuffed out any hope of the Power making it to September, and also saw Mark Williams sacked as the coach. Matthew Primus was later appointed caretaker coach.

Port suffered a case of déjà-vu in Round 19, when they came up against a struggling St Kilda side at Etihad Stadium. The Saints were keen to make a statement to the football world, and did so with a stunning 94 point win, eerily similar to the game against Geelong earlier in the year.

Injuries can do some cruel things to players, and it can cut several careers short. It wasn’t fair that injury struck the best player that has ever graced Port Adelaide colours, but in Round 7 against Essendon at Etihad Stadium, Warren Tredrea suffered an ankle injury, and this would be his last appearance in a long, illustrious career. Tredrea played 255 games for an outstanding total of 549 goals, and will be forever remembered down at Alberton.

Improvers:

While many of Port Adelaide’s players failed to deliver in 2010, some did improve by quite a bit, and this should fuel excitement for the coming seasons. David Rodan came back from his ACL injury much earlier than expected, but it didn’t hinder his game at all, with the Fijian impressing with his increased pace and speed.

Troy Chaplin shone down back, and the unfortunate death of his unborn child was a hurdle that no Father should be expected to be able to overcome easily, but his form improved after this disaster, racking up many possessions rebounding from defensive 50 while his vice-like hands were able to mark anything that came his way. Chaplin finished 2nd in the John Cahill Medal, while finishing 3rd was..

Alipate Carlile. ‘Bobby’ as he is affectionately known as down at Alberton, improved his game immensely, and looks more than capable of holding down the Full Back position for the next decade.

Taking out the Best and Fairest award was Kane Cornes, who averaged 27.6 possessions and 4.2 tackles a game, and he started the season on fire with 39 touches against North Melbourne, a season-high. A week later he laid 15 tackles against West Coast.

A change of club can usually help kickstart an AFL career that has faltered. This was the case for discarded Richmond forward Jay Schulz. Much maligned at Punt Rd, Schulz made the goalsquare his own for 2010, winning the leading goalkicker award with a total of 33 majors, including a seven goal haul in Round 13 against North Melbourne. He also averaged five marks a game.

Port unveiled an impressing array of youngsters in season 2010, but one that has been around for a few seasons took the AFL by storm. The future skipper of the Port Adelaide Power, Travis Boak changed his game into a goalkicking midfielder late in the season, averaging 22.7 touches and kicking 13.12. He starred in the final game of the year against Richmond, collecting 31 disposals, taking seven marks, laying eight tackles and kicking three goals. Future Brownlow Medalist.

Taking out the Most Improved Player award at the Port Adelaide Best and Fairest count was Paul Stewart, who played 20 games and averaged 15.2 possessions. Impressed in the Round 5 upset win over St Kilda with 25 touches. This kid has that element of toughness. The type that would run through a brick wall for his coach.

One of the Rookie Draft gems for the Power, Tom Logan finished ninth in the John Cahill Medal, after a season in which he averaged 17.9 disposals as a defensive midfielder. Also kicked two goals in the final game of the season against Richmond.

Justin Westhoff took on a new role for the Power in 2010, playing more a midfield position. His versatility was put to great use, and he averaged 15.2 possessions a game while still kicking 17.10 for the year. Earned a career-high three Brownlow votes during the season.

Every team has a player that would do anything for the coach, and at Port Adelaide that player is Matt Thomas. Unable to cement his spot in the side prior to 2010, he did that with 20 games and a string of impressive performances under both Mark Williams and Matthew Primus. None was more impressive than the Round 20 thriller against West Coast, where Thomas collected 32 touches (a career-high), took eight marks and laid nine tackles in the win.

Sliders:

A fan favourite at Port Adelaide, Chad Cornes had a year he would rather forget, playing just the 14 games and showing some attitude problems. He was relegated to the SANFL by caretaker coach Matthew Primus, and failed to make his way back into the side due to poor form and injury.

Daniel Motlop went backwards by a fair way, playing just nine games due to poor form and injury, and he kicked just 10.13 in those games. Seemed unfit most of the time, and unsuccessfully seeked a trade to Western Australia at the end of the year. It is unclear on whether he will retire or continue playing on, where he will be on the outer come Round 1 next season.

Jason Davenport was a revelation for Port Adelaide in 2009, but played just 14 inconsistent games in 2010, kicking 18.12, but only booting over two goals just once for the season, with a bag of four in Round 2 against West Coast.

One of the favourites down at Alberton, Michael Pettigrew managed just the one game in season 2010 due to injury and form. That game came in Round 22 against Richmond, where he failed to have a big impact. Has been on the outer for a couple of years now.

Clever little goalsneak, Robbie Gray, managed just 11 games for the season after some stellar NAB Cup performances. He was cut down by injury, but still managed 18.12, with a best of five against Adelaide in Showdown XXVIII.

Giggle moment:

Port Adelaide’s new guernsey, popular with almost everyone in the AFL, took 13 years to design. And who designed it? A seven year old girl.

Not much of a giggle moment, but you can’t help but shake your head in dismay at the empty seats at AAMI Stadium during Port Adelaide home games. It probably ebbed to the lowest point in Round 20 against West Coast, when 14,113 turned out to see the Power and Eagles clash. It was a wet night between two unsuccessful sides, I guess.

^^ That might be a bit rich coming from a North Melbourne supporter, but oh well.

Lament:

The career-ending injury to Warren Tredrea in Round 7. He looked in good shape too, after his great 2009 campaign, and sadly he could never get a farewell game in front of a home crowd at AAMI Stadium. Plenty would’ve turned out for that, whatever the weather and whatever the teams playing. At least his last game at West Lakes was a Showdown against Adelaide.

The club record nine-game losing streak between Rounds 8 and 16.

The poor form and lack of leadership shown by Daniel Motlop and Chad Cornes.

The Brett Ebert ACL injury suffered in Round 21. He should be back by next season however thanks to the LARS treatment.

What next?

Port have a good crop of youngsters. Cameron Hitchcock, Dan Stewart and Jackson Trengove were all immensely good in just their first years; with the latter two being perfect options to replace Dean Brogan in the Ruck, while Hitchcock is a classy goalkicker with plenty of poise and tenacity. The two MB combinations of Matthew Broadbent and Mitchell Banner are also future corner stones to the Port Adelaide success, while Hamish Hartlett is, according to assistant coach Dean Laidley, “The best player he’s ever seen”. Let’s just hope we get to see more of him next season. Port also have two untried players taken from last year’s draft in the first round of selection: John Butcher and Jasper Pittard, while Andrew Moore, also taken early in the draft, showed good signs in the few games he played. They have a great coach at the helm, you can tell the players really love him, and that is the most important thing of all. Respect is mutual between coach and player, and the respect Primus has with the Alberton boys will propel the Power to September in a couple of years time.

About Josh Barnstable

21 year old North Melbourne supporter from country Victoria. Currently living in Melbourne studying a Bachelor of Sports Media. Dreams of becoming a sports journalist and broadcaster.

Comments

  1. John Butler says:

    Nice work Josh

    It will be interesting to see if they continue to rally around Primus next season.

    The club would still have some off-field questions to answer.

  2. If Hamish Hartlett is as good as Laidley is saying, then he should be tearing the competition up fairly soon! The third year’s often the breakout year, maybe he will be one of 2011’s big improvers?

    For some reason, I laughed at the line “(Westhoff) earned a career high three Brownlow votes…the tone almost suggested you were mocking him! Personally, I don’t rate Westhoff at all. Although I rate Daniel Stewart, I suspect he will grab Port’s number 1 forward mantle with both hands in 2011.

  3. LAIDLEY!!! ;) <3 *traces love heart in the air*

  4. You can’t marry them all Danielle.

  5. Josh I thought the faxct that Port “advertised” their poor crowds by placing huge sheets of plastic over whole section of the stands was the giggle moment of the season. Should have just put up a sign that said “even OUR supporters hate us”

    Keep up the great work with your contributions. Sadly you have course me no end of grief when I wear the Bombers T-shirt.
    cheers
    Tony

Leave a Comment

*