Almanac People: A Favourite Son to return to Alberton, but it’s not who you think!

After a 13-day break where some hard truths were laid bare and some player ‘me’ time was enjoyed, Port Adelaide returned to Adelaide Oval in front of 37,000 fans to demolish Richmond and end any slim hopes the Tigers had of making the finals.

 

He wears the face of a man who has just had his wallet flogged, and an intense attitude, for Richmond’s Mark Williams this trip to Adelaide was another visit to South Australia by Port’s AFL premiership coach. There have been rumblings this year about a return to Alberton soon in an ambassador type role, but this should be avoided at all costs. For starters it was Mark Williams who actively sought out Victorian clubs interested in his abilities while he was still coaching at Port in 2009/10. And it was Williams who insisted on a peculiar stipulation in his contract at Port where the club needed to put its offer on the table by mid-year, thus losing any bargaining power if the results weren’t coming. (see 2009 season).

 

And how many people did Choco, as he is affectionately known, rub people up the wrong way at Alberton in his previous tenure there? Many. Some people simply cannot stomach his style of working with people, and his ‘my way or the highway’ charter.

 

Mark Williams was a fantastic player, and proved himself a coach of some substance. He led Port to three preliminary finals in a row between 2002-04. In 2004 he masterminded a Port Adelaide premiership, their first at AFL level on a sunny September day. But few forget how badly things were to go after the dismal, club-defining 2007 grand final against Geelong. Port were destroyed by the best team all year, and the scars remained for many years after. Players confidence were affected, and the club slipped into a mire they almost never recovered from. Williams was senior coach, and as such much responsibility of that day sits with him. 2009, 10 and 11 were woeful years at Port and it was Williams, as well as Peter Rhode who had the final say on some strange player draftings in that time.

 

Port’s playing stocks were poor and his desire to play favourites hurt the side’s development.

 

No, if Richmond decide that Williams is no longer needed at Punt Road then Port should not be making any effort to knock on his door.

 

And getting rid of Choco Richmond might. While Port played with a fierce desire on Friday night the Tigers were the opposite. Their season is now over – having played in the last couple of finals series. Questions will be asked of Damien Hardwick, another Port old boy and if his cards have already been marked then Port definitely must talk to him. He would make an ideal assistant coach replacing either the much maligned Michael Voss or Nathan Basett.

 

Port heads into the last eight games now with its destiny firmly in its own hands. A date with Hawthorn this Thursday night will be a test, but Port’s record against the Hawks is excellent, matches up well against them and really enjoys the challenge of playing the best team in the league.

 

CHRIS MICHAELS

Comments

  1. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Chris just out of interest have you spoken to any of the players re Voss or Bassett in particular you will find several of the defensive group speak glowingly of Bassett and 1 in particular ( not from Norwooc ) is very open declaring,Bassett is easily the best coach he has ever had

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