Round 2 – Port Adelaide v Sydney: A slow and painful death

Port Adelaide v Sydney

April 11th, 2015

Adelaide Oval, Adelaide


An anaconda squeezes the life out of its prey, then swallows them whole. It’s a slow and painful death. The Sydney Swans do the same to opposition teams. Suffocate, harass, and pressure them until death occurs. For Port Adelaide on Saturday night death came swiftly. By early in the second half the game was over, Port a shattered shell of a team.


Sydney started well, and the signs were good for them early. While both teams were feeling each other out, working the angles and looking for as way through massed defences at both ends of the ground, Sydney manufactured goals via non-traditional methods. Port tried the same, but every time Port went forward they were given the anaconda treatment. Sydney simply gave Port no space at all.


As the game progressed Sydney’s ability to continue to pressure, while kicking goals was the first logistical difference. Port’s match total was their lowest under Ken Hinkley. That was telling. Up forward Lance Franklin was in a dominant mood, and spread his ruthless attack on the ball around the ground when he wasn’t kicking goals.


Port didn’t have a forward that was given the opportunity to dominate. Port’s usual fluid and precise ball movement went missing. Apart from the ever-reliable Brad Ebert and Robbie Gray, the class of Jared Polac, the sweeping of Hamish Hartlett and Patrick Ryder’s tireless efforts in ruck, they simply didn’t have anyone else up for the challenge. It was a telling sign that for all of Port’s pre-season chutzpah they still have holes to fill if they are to truly challenge for the premiership. Fitness to captain Travis Boak is an issue – playing with an injury this early on in the season doesn’t augur well for the next few critical weeks.


Sydney did what Sydney does so well (and has done so well to Port for a long time). The anaconda treatment. Port couldn’t find a way to get past it Saturday night. But find a way they must. They will probably play Sydney in the finals (and again in Sydney in June), and a plan B will be required.


Ken Hinkley’s presser was measured, composed and impressive. But underneath the surface there must be just a little concern at just how easily Port’s game plan was completely and embarrassingly shut down. And how quickly Port was made to look second-rate, lacking in skill and un-fit. They are none of those things. But a class act like the Swans can do that to a team. It’s called the anaconda treatment.






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  1. “They will probably play Sydney in the finals (and again in Sydney in June), and a plan B will be required.”

    At this rate, Plan B might be a long surfing trip in September.

    Yes, Chris, Sydney squeezed the life out of Port’s fast little men. How about asking them to kick it to the tall guys, Ken? And, Paddy & Hoff, how about presenting front and centre, instead of hanging back 80 metres away hoping for an easy kick?

    .Jump over The Big Snake!

    And another thing. Koch buggered up the Never Tear Us Apart concept at the beginning of the game. He didn’t have to orchestrate the crowd; the beauty of NTUA last year was that the crowd created the scarf-waving singalong ritual by themselves. NTUA wasn’t broken — it didn’t require fixing.
    That was embarrassing… All that attention on old men still on the ground by the southern goal square, when the attention should have been on the first bounce in the middle. It set the tone for the entire night.
    Port has to abandon the dazzle right now and remember to only play football.

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