In 2019 the Port Adelaide footy club had one of those frustrating, near-miss seasons that have in recent times unfortunately become common place for such a proud and decorated organisation. They floated around the lower end of the eight for most of the season and were finals bound with two rounds remaining, but a 15 goal hammering at the hands of the Shinboners in Round 22 soon put paid to that idea. The hard truth is that Port never looked likely to contend at any stage last year, and missing the finals may have been a blessing in disguise as they attempt to build their list.
If that sounds like too much doom and gloom, then fear not! The obvious highlight of the Power’s year was the emergence of an unlikely triumvirate of rookies named Butters, Rozee and Duursma, who all made an impact in their own distinctive fashion – not to mention forming the nucleus of most Supercoach teams! With another crop of impressive draftees coming through and a coach who is more than willing to give them game time, things are looking up for PAFC.
Feeling Lucky: Don’t be alarmed by that wailing siren you can hear in the background, it’s just the “More Mid-time” alert for Dan Houston ($484,800)! Houston spent the first two-and-a-bit seasons of his career as an efficient mid-sized defender, but a shift further up the ground after the bye saw a boost in his involvement and, by extension, Supercoach numbers. After successfully tagging Tim Kelly in an upset win over the Cats, Houston posted a 105 average in the final five games of the season, and has already been earmarked by Ken Hinkley to expand upon that new central role in 2020. Definite watchlist material.
A 15 point bump in his scoring last year has pushed Darcy Byrne-Jones ($473,400) up to the brink of premium defender status. DBJ’s 87 ppg average included seven tons, most of them in the back half of the season. The major red flag here is the greater role that Ryan Burton and Hamish Hartlett may have this year, potentially taking some of that distributor role away from Darcy.
Lock and Load: Supercoach is all about looking for trends and playing the percentages, but sometimes footy just makes no sense. Who could have predicted that Travis Boak ($582,300) would have the best season of his career, at age 30, after moving back into the midfield? A new off-season training regime lifted Boak back into premium territory, posting a 107 ppg average and becoming a must-have in everyone’s Supercoach forward lines. Unfortunately Trav has lost that forward status this year, which of course means he will be a super POD for the engine room.
Feeling Lucky: And by ‘lucky’, I mean stuff your pockets with the feet of rabbits, braid your hair with four-leafed clovers, and hang a horseshoe around your neck. There are few better examples of risk vs reward in Supercoach than Tom Rockliff ($495,400). At his best, Rocky is the pigskin glutton who gets the footy for fun and averaged 132 ppg in 2014. The damaged side of the coin is Rocky and his ‘rocky boulders’, which are held together with copious amounts of tape every week, not to mention his propensity for soft tissue injuries. If you pick him and Good Rocky happens to show up, you’ll look and feel like a genius; otherwise, you’ll wonder what the hell you were thinking.
Money Maker: Jackson Mead ($117,300) was taken as a father-son selection at pick 25. The progeny of former tall defender Darren, who was the Power’s best and fairest in their first year in the AFL in 1997, Jackson is a jet quick midfielder who can use the ball well on either side of his body. He also has fantastic goal sense, and for this reason is most likely to start his career as a small forward in the SANFL. Taken two picks earlier, Dylan Williams ($117,300) is a clever small forward with huge upside, who may see some time in the senior league this season. Williams comes with DPP status and is definitely one to keep an eye on.
Feeling Lucky: In the past two years, Scott Lycett ($550,600) has won a flag with the Eagles, requested a trade to Port to play alongside Paddy Ryder, and then averaged 122 ppg in eight post-bye games. If you’ve got a stranger and more fantastic footy bio than that, then let’s hear about it! I know everyone’s deeply besotted with the Grundy-Gawn ruck pairing right now, but if you’ve got the intestinal fortitude/psychological instability to walk a different path, then Lycett is one to consider. There will always be question marks over his durability, but there are no doubts about his scoring now that Ryder has moved back to Melbourne. Scotty is unquestionable the number one ruck at the Power this year and rather temptingly priced!
Feeling Lucky: Coming up on his 32nd birthday, it’s likely that Supercoach relevance is a thing of the past for Robbie Gray ($453,000), whose body has endured its share of footy-caused punishment over his decorated career. A meagre return of 83 ppg in 2019 means that Robbie is available at his cheapest starting price in six seasons. Whether you think he’s good value at this stage really depends on Gray’s mid time, where he is an elite scorer, against his forward rotations where Robbie is merely adequate.
In contrast, Connor Rozee ($422,100) is a man on the rise. One of those rookies that many of us missed last year, Rozee was exhilarating at times in the Port forward line, demonstrating an amazing combination of athleticism and footy nous. Most encouragingly, Rozee pushed further up the ground later in the season, increasing his involvement while also managing to boot 29 majors in his first year. There’s a certain degree of speculation in selecting Rozee in your forward line this year, but if you think Connor can continue to improve at the same incredible rate he showed in 2019, then he may well be a gamble worth taking.
Money Maker: In terms of Supercoach relevance, it’s very possible that the two jewels in the Port crown this year are Miles Bergman ($148,800) and Mitch Georgiades ($130,800), taken with picks 14 and 18 respectively in the 2019 draft. Bergman plays as a high half-forward boasting an impressive leap and a thumping right boot, while Georgiades is a more traditional tall target with good speed off the mark and superior overhead skills. Hinkley has already indicated that both will play in the AFL this year, it’s just a question of when!
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9 thoughts on “2020 Team Preview – Port Adelaide”
Good stuff Chillo.
Only really interested in Houston at this stage, looking for role in the Marsh series.
After the success of the Port rookies last season hope a few get games early again.
Lycett is locked & loaded for me.
Great stuff Chillo!
Just to add to this with some preseason info:
– Houston has trained as a midfielder
– Ladhams has been battling some knee soreness, so at this stage I’d expect we only play 1 ruck (lycett) unlike last year.
– Robbie Gray and Zac Butters are the standouts on the track, the former reportedly having his best preseason in years and the latter having increased his running ability massively.
The one other notable thing is Brad Ebert’s return to full fitness following his concussion and knee injuries. Could be a viable forward option if he returns to his preconcussion form of last year but youd have to wait and see his form first.
Thanks Duffman! I admit I’d forgotten about Ebert. Could be a useful draft selection.
Draft you say Chillo, hoping to nab him late are you … 🙂
Brilliant job! Really wish I had the balls to pick Lycett.
me too. If he had the Rd14 bye, I really would be very tempted. but he doesn’t.
Same here! I’m almost certain he’ll be the guy I come back to in round 6 and say “Looks like he missed the boat there, Jim”
Great write up Houston, DBJ & Lycett are onto my watchlist 🙂