Entering his fourth year on the Port Adelaide list it is time for Jake Neade to establish himself in the Port Adelaide team and perform at a more consistent level. After playing 16 games in 2013 Neade had a modest return of 8 & 10 games in the following two years. Many scribes feel the suspension of Angus Monfries will provide the opportunity for Neade to play primarily as a small forward as well as spending time through the midfield in 2016. Is Jake Neade capable of taking this opportunity?
At 21 years of age Neade still has a lot of development left in his game. Neade has great speed and his tackling and pressure on the opposition is probably his greatest strength. But consistency in performance is still the major question mark. Neade has never been a player that is a prolific ball winner. The most disposals Neade has had in a game is 17, with 3 goals his highest goal return.
Jake Neade does offer something however that the Port Adelaide team is craving, and that is leg speed. One of the criticisms of Port Adelaide last week was slow ball use and minimal outside run. Neade is one player who can provide this. He just simply needs to be more involved as he often spends large periods of the game missing in action. Despite being considered a skilful player Neade has turned the ball over a lot by foot and this is an area that needs to be tidied up and with more AFL experience this decision making should also improve.
When playing the small forward role this can be difficult as often players can be starved of opportunity. But it is important for Jake Neade to impact the scoreboard because a forward who does not get the ball or kick goals will struggle to hold his place in the side. Neade has not registered a goal in the first two games this year and while the expectation will not be to kick 10 goals a game, Port Adelaide will be hoping some type of contribution is forthcoming in the goals column.
Many fans remember the great goal Jake Neade scored in the Elimination Final against Richmond in 2014. As Port Adelaide blitzed Richmond in the opening quarter Neade found the ball in midfield and after taking multiple bounces was able to kick a sublime goal on the run from 50 out. The fans and Port Adelaide want this Jake Neade back. Ideally starting this week against Essendon.