Was anyone else sick of hearing about Port Adelaide in the 2015 preseason? Every other article mentioned which Port Adelaide players were running personal best times and how they were all “burning up the track” (seriously). With the arrival of Ryder in the ruck and with their gun midfield, Port was confident they were going to run rings around the opposition with their speed and stamina; nobody would ever tear them apart. (Cue strings).
So what the hell happened?
After all the hype, Port’s season started a little shakily with losses to Fremantle and Sydney in rounds 1 and 2 but they quickly settled with strong wins against the Roos, Hawks and Adelaide in rounds 3-5. Even with Ollie Wines out with injury from round 4 and Polec from round 5 the fans were hopeful.
Unfortunately that hope was soon dashed with 5 losses in 7 rounds to a random assortment of teams in West Coast, Brisbane (yes, Brisbane), Richmond, Geelong and Carlton (yes, even Carlton) [Ed: I was at the ‘G for that game, it was a stirring victory]. Port seemed to have lost the Power to win with their once dominant midfield being outworked and out-muscled. Sitting on 5 wins and 7 losses during their round 12 bye, Port’s season was on life support.
Starting so far back, Port showed some fight with a late season burst, winning 7 from 10 games but close losses to Sydney and Adelaide along with a huge loss to the Doggies meant the Power just dropped short.
The season could only be rated as an abject failure after such high expectations.
B: Jack Hombsch, Alipate Carlile, Jarman Impey
HB: Matthew Broadbent, Jackson Trengove, Hamish Hartlett
C: Jared Polec, Brad Ebert, Jasper Pittard
HF: Justin Westhoff, Charlie Dixon, Robbie Gray
F: Sam Gray, Jay Schulz, Chad Wingard
Foll: Matthew Lobbe, Travis Boak, Ollie Wines
I/C: Jake Neade, Matt White, Tom Jonas, Brendon Ah Chee
Fringe: Nathan Krakouer (rookie), Aaron Young, Tom Clurey, Sam Colquhoun
How will Port go in 2016?
Your guess is as good as mine!
Port’s list oozes with talent and overall the team has been lucky with few injuries to key players yet their results are so variable. Look at 2015: Port defeats the Kangaroos and Hawthorn early in the year, then a few weeks later they lose to Carlton and Brisbane. After defeating the Doggies by 38 points early in the year, Port loses to them by 64 points late in the year and then they defeated the Hawks again. Who knows what to expect from Port Adelaide!
Ryder is a significant loss as he seemed to have found his niche late in 2015 but Lobbe proved he could do the job in 2014. If he can stay fit, Charlie Dixon will help Schulz up forward allowing Westhoff to fill gaps around the ground while Ollie Wines and Polec should have more luck with injury in 2016. Add to that the easier draw in 2016 and Port should be back in business.Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
Jasper Pittard – D – $434,400
2015 Av. 80.5 from 20 games.
Past: 66, 62, 11, 61
2015: After a poor round 1 with 13 possessions and 64 SC points, Pittard had a great run of form with 3 centuries in 4 weeks (along with a 94) however that lead to him being manned up by defensive forwards. From then he didn’t manage another century until round 20 and he only crossed 90 on one occasion in that time. He again scored well in the last 4 weeks of the season with an average of 90 points per game.
PROs: He can score if allowed to run free and he’s building his fitness base well this preseason.
CONs: His output was easily shut down by defensive forwards and when he was given a lock-down defensive role.
Verdict: There’s better value out there but my gut tells me he could step up again in 2016.
Robbie Gray – M – $595,900
2015 Av. 110.4 from 21 games.
Past 5: 111, 82, 71, 91, 76
Vest: 1 Red, subbed in round 12 (Carlton) after the notorious [Ed: awesome] Gibbs tackle.
2015: The doubters said 2014 was one out of the box for Gray, but he backed it up with a similar output in 2015. He spent more time in the midfield leading to a small increase in possessions and reduction in goals but overall his SC output was identical. With only 7 scores under 100 and only 2 under 80 (one due to the red vest), Robbie proved himself a star of the competition.
PROs: He’s discovered durability in the last 2 years and he’s a star who rarely lets you down.
CONs: He offers little value at this price and he’s probably not quite in the best 8 midfielders. Gray scores over 100 often but he rarely goes massive with only one score over 140 from 14 centuries.
Verdict: He’s good enough to step into the elite bracket but he’s not on the top of my list. Great POD though.
Hamish Hartlett – M – $545,700
2015 Av. 101.1 from 22 games.
Past 5: 97, 91, 91, 92, 77
2015: For the first time in his career, Hartlett pushed his SC average over 100 per game. He finally seems to have overcome his injury concerns, playing all 22 games in a variety of roles. Although he played all over the ground, he spent the most time across half-back and in that role he finished with a bang, averaging 114 SC points per game in the last 8 rounds.
PROs: Hartlett has the talent to become elite and now that he has sorted his injury concerns out, 2016 should be his year.
CONs: He was used in a variety of roles, even as a run-with player on two occasions. If this occurs again, it could affect his output.
Verdict: My gut tells me he (and Port) will take a step up in 2016. A smokey.
Ollie Wines – M – $525,100
2015 Av. 97.3 from 13 games.
Past: 101, 74
Vests: 2 Red, subbed in Q4 of round 3 (NM) and subbed in Q2 of round 18 (St Kilda)
2015: It was a year of unwanted firsts for Ollie. For the first time in his AFL career he missed games through injury and missed out on playing finals football. Despite playing only 13 games, Ollie still averaged 24 possessions and 5 tackles per game with 7 SC centuries from 11 full games. He only scored less than 80 points on 3 occasions and he had injuries in all of those games.
PROs: Ollie is entering his third year, he’s already an elite clearance and contested ball winner and he’s mildly discounted due to his red vests in 2015.
CONs: There’s better value options but otherwise there’s little risk in Wines.
Verdict: He’s guaranteed to improve and he’ll be in a lot of teams.Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
Brett Ebert – M – $523,200
2015 Av. 97 from 22 games.
Past 5: 94, 97, 73, 64, 71
2015: What is the deal with Brett Ebert? For the second year in a row he started like a freight train, averaging 112 per game over the first 11 rounds on the back of 8 tonnes, but then he only averaged 81 for the rest of the year, with one more tonne from 11 games.
PROs: He’s durable and if he ever performs for an entire year, he’ll be elite.
CONs: How can you predict how he’ll score with his schizophrenic form line?
Verdict: Risky but he could feasibly score 110+ for the year if he finds consistency.
MIDPRICE MADNESS $200K – $450k
Brendon Ah Chee – M – $334,100
2015 Av. 61.9 from 11 games
Past: Hasn’t played since he was drafted.
Vest: 5 Green, 1 Red: subbed on 3 times in Q4 and twice in Q3. Once subbed off in Q3.
2015: Ah Chee was simply a back-up option for a majority of the year, playing sporadically and receiving the green or red vest in every game he played except round 14. However as injuries struck, Ah Chee received midfield time from round 20 and thrived in the new role, posting scores of 128, 107, 88 and 93.
PROs: His unvested average was 96 and he proved he’s a gun midfielder when given the opportunity, averaging 22 possessions, 4 marks and 4 tackles per game in unvested games.
CONs: Will he still be in a midfield role with the return of Wines and Polec from injury?
Verdict: Preseason watch – could be a great mid-price option if he gets midfield time. A bit risky!
Jarred Polec – M – $303,000
2015 Av. 70.2 from 5 games.
Past: 82, 31, 54, 50
Vests: 1 Red and 1 Green: Subbed off Q4, round 4 (Haw), subbed on Q5, round 5 (Adel)
2015: A foot injury caused him to miss every game from round 6 onwards. A recent article indicated that his foot has healed with rest and no surgery and his preseason is tracking well.
PROs: He’s a lock for the best 22 and before injury, Polec was averaging 81 points per game and he’s priced at 55.
CONs: He doesn’t tend to go large so don’t expect anything but consistent 80s and 90s.
Verdict: If you want a guaranteed upside, Polec is for you.
Riley Bonner – D – $117,300
2015 National Draft #37
Who is he?
Bonner was introduced to a running half back role in 2015 playing for West Adelaide. He didn’t win a lot of the ball with 18 possessions per game but he was an elite left foot kick with 73% disposal efficiency. He slid down the draft order due to missing the draft combine with a foot injury but he is training without restriction currently. At 191cm he is another of the new generation of tall running defenders who should fit nicely into the Port backline.
Verdict: He’s unlikely to feature early as he may need more experience playing in the backline.
MIDPRICE MADNESS $200K – $450k
Matthew Lobbe – R – $389,500
2015 Av. 72.2 from 17 games.
Past 5: 101, 86, 71, 75, 40
Vests: 2 Red, subbed 3QT of round 15 (Coll) and Q3 of round 19 (WB)
2015: The year started in round 4 due to a quad injury early but despite playing 17 games, he never found his groove while sharing the ruck role with Ryder. He was dropped late in the year, playing 2 games in the SANFL in rounds 20 and 21. In general, all of his key stats dropped in 2015, averaging 3 less possessions and 3 less hit-outs per game and he dropped 29 SC points per game from 2014.
PROs: He definitely under-priced and there’s no Ryder to steal his points.
CONs: The new ruck role has affected his scoring as he only recorded a 9% hitout-to-advantage rate in 2015, so don’t expect him to return to the average of 101 again.
Verdict: Even if he can’t return to his 100 point average of 2014, he’s still 20+ points under-priced. If it suits your structure, jump on.
Chad Wingard – F – $527,800
2015 Av. 97.8 from 22 games.
Past: 82, 97, 52
2015: Wingard returned to his form of 2013 with 19 possessions, 4 marks and 3 tackles per game along with 53 goals across the season. He kicked goals in every game except with for round 23.
PROs: The Chad can score when playing as a pure forward and he’s entering his fourth season.
CONs: Wingard is only going to get more attention after another All Australian year and he’s at his top price.
Verdict: He’s at his highest price but he’s good enough to improve further. A POD.
Justin Westhoff – F – $510,900
2015 Av. 94.7 from 22 games.
Past: 90, 98, 80, 82, 76
2015: Westhoff swung between the forward line, the back line and even the wing in 2015 which meant he was elite for possessions for a forward but he only averaged 1 goal per game. His SC score seems to have flatlined in the 90s.
PROs: A unique pick that can go large at times and he did finish the year with 9 tonnes from 14 games.
CONs: The Hoff is an inconsistent scorer with 6 scores under 80 to go with the 9 scores over 100
Verdict: A unique pick but there’s better forward line value available.
Sam Gray – F/M – $480,800
2015 Av. 89.1 from 10 games.
2015: Like Ah Chee, Gray was the beneficiary of injuries to Wines and Polec. From round 18 he scored 111 from 6 games on the back of 27 possessions per game playing through the midfield. Before that time he only managed 56 points per games as a forward between round 8 and 11.
PROs: He can score if he plays in the midfield, great considering he can be chosen as a forward.
CONs: He doesn’t score well when used as a forward. Do you know where he will play? That’s a lot of money to spend if you can’t confidently answer: Midfield!
Verdict: Unless the coach comes out and says he will play through the midfield, don’t risk it.
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