Round 8 – Port Adelaide v Richmond: After eight rounds, Port has swiftly and clinically killed its season

Port Adelaide v Richmond

May 24th, 2015

RD 8

Adelaide Oval, Adelaide

 

Port Adelaide’s season is now officially over. At best the club may possibly fall into the top eight if everything goes its way for the remainder of the season. It’s a massive if. At worst it will be struggling to avoid the bottom four. After eight rounds into season 2015 Port has now been overtaken by the majority of the middle of the road teams from last season, like the Bulldogs, Richmond, GWS and Adelaide. Having finished only three points away from a grand final last year, Port has yet again shown itself to be mentally fragile, unable to shoulder the burden of expectation and has an inbuilt mental state of ‘almost is close enough.’

 

On Sunday night Richmond beat Port Adelaide. Six months ago the result was reversed in the finals as Port blew the Tigers off Adelaide Oval. Just how severely Port’s stocks as a football club have fallen away is depressing.

 

They have only played three decent, acceptable quarters of football this year. They are unfit. They are unskilled. They have no plan B when things are tough. Opposing teams have worked them out and are now embarrassing them. They like to play mickey-mouse, tickey-touchwood garbage football in the backlines. They refuse to long kicking, fast football that served them so well in 2014. They are playing for themselves, not for their team mates. Their forwards don’t work hard enough to keep the ball in their forward zone. Their midfield have returned to the bad old days of being downhill skiers; unwilling to put enough pressure of their counterparts meaning the ball is heading into Port’s defence too often. Chad Wingard is coasting. Paddy Ryder, after a couple of good games has returned to his early season malaise. Travis Boak isn’t hurting the opposition. Ollie Wines looked slack and unfit. Irrespective of missing weeks with injury, if you’re picked to play you’re 100%. Hamish Hartlett’s skills, usually so silky were terrible. And he didn’t seem to care. Alipate Carlile, so good this year, was soundly beaten. Sam Gray was invisible. Individually Port are terrible, bar perhaps Jack Hombsch, Brett Ebert, Jasper Pittard and Robbie Gray. Hombsch is by-far Port’s best after eight rounds. Pittard not far behind. Those that continue to be critical of Pittard know nothing about football. He is the one player this season that actually looks switched on, capable of setting up something for Port with his run and having a seriously hard crack.

 

But it is as a team where Port are truly terrible. When Jackson Trengove was shoved while on the ground injured in the first quarter, not one Port player remonstrated with the Richmond player. Not one. Collectively they are trying to play champagne football without doing any of the small things that win football matches.

 

Back in 2011/12 Port were a disgrace, irrelevant as a football club. Their performances on-field were pathetic, insipid and painful to watch. Along came Ken Hinkley, a host of young players and very quickly things turned. Hope among the supporters was back. Success came too – two finals appearances in a row showed the reward for effort. But Port have now slid back to the bad old days, directionless, rudderless. And for the first time in his short coaching reign, pressure must come on to Hinkley. And his fellow coaches. Don’t underestimate how deeply Port are feeling the loss of Phil Walsh, a tactical genius poached by the Adelaide Crows. Michael Voss, ex-Brisbane Lions skipper now in that role seems to have had minimal impact.

 

It seems too many at Alberton over the summer simply expected to turn up this season and expect a grand final appearance to be forth coming. That’s a loser mentality, and one you never see at Sydney or Hawthorn.

 

And it seems that view was shared from CEO down. Some of the arrogant, self-indulgent messages from Keith Thomas and his absent president over the summer and early season showed a board and hierarchy that were planning grand final celebrations when working on a plan B might have been more prudent.

 

And to think that Sunday night was the 300th, and last game for Port Adelaide stalwart Kane Cornes. While admired more than he was ever loved, what a pitiful and shambolically poor way to say goodbye. Port have lost their way. More than 60,000 Port Adelaide people have bought into Port’s ethic in 2015 by becoming members. 45,000 of those turned up on Sunday. Another disgraceful effort at their next home game and that figure will rapidly decrease.

 

CHRIS MICHAELS

 

@cargoartmag

Comments

  1. Dave Brown says

    Both barrels but well deserved, Chris. You covered pretty much all of the points made by frustrated Power fans in the last 24 hours. You wonder if teams are doomed to failure when they recruit the ‘last piece in their premiership puzzle’, a la Ryder. Makes me think of Fevola at Brisbane and Carey at Adelaide.

  2. Peter Warrington says

    But hard on Boak. Thought him BOG yesterday. But very happy for the win. 2 votes to Jack. Raffle the 1. Possibly Ellis, making up for his muppetry in recent weeks.

  3. If Port can now turn their season around it will be a miracle based on their efforts in the last two weeks. Finally, finalists just don’t lose home games.

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