“I agree. A disgrace. Rest assured questions are being asked & answers demanded. Undermines a historic week” This was the tweet from David Koch in response to a fan on twitter after Port Adelaide’s 86 point loss to GWS just over a week ago. A completely justified response and a view many fans shared after Port Adelaide suffered a second heavy defeat within the space of three games. But apparently the tweet has upset some of the Port Adelaide players. Do they have a right to feel aggrieved? Do others in the media have a right to criticise Koch for his comments?
Some pundits believe it is inappropriate for a club president to respond to a fan on a social media platform such as twitter and that issues such as this should be kept in-house. But why does it need to be kept in-house? The team lost by over 14 goals, surely it should not be a shock to players that a club official would be disappointed with the result. Does it really matter if this point was made on social media?
The issue was discussed on Channel 7 in the Geelong pre-game coverage and Koch again did not hold back when it was discussed some players were unsettled by the comments. If the players were unsettled by the comments they should “harden up” was the stance taken by Koch. If the players are legitimately upset and think the comments are an issue then perhaps the players are being rightfully questioned as being mentally fragile from some supporters.
Port Adelaide knew exactly what they were getting when David Koch joined the club in 2012. While some may like the president of a club to be seen and not heard this was never going to be the case with a media entrepreneur like David Koch.
The media presence of David Koch has been a monumental success for Port Adelaide. Koch has used his platform as Sunrise host to generally pump up Port Adelaide at every possible opportunity. When Port Adelaide went from basket case to playing finals in 2013 &14 there was no one patting the players on the back and giving public praise as much as David Koch. But when the shoe is on the other foot you have to cop your medicine when performance is unsatisfactory.
Would it better if the comments were not made? Probably yes. But it is a minor issue in the scheme of things. Allowing Geelong to score 15 of the last 18 goals is more of a concern. Kicking 3 goals in 3 quarters is more of a concern. Unable to kick to a teammate accurately 15 metres away is more of a concern.
Ex-players Brian Lake and Jonathon Brown have discussed Koch’s comments on Saturday night possibly breaking the trust of the playing group by airing a private conversation with Travis Boak on channel 7. Kane Cornes also felt it was inappropriate for Koch to comment in such a manner publicly. Whether Kane Cornes believes his brother Chad is out of order for questioning the Port Magpies side publicly on Sunday in which he labelled some AFL listed players as selfish and failing to try remains to be seen. Are coaches the only ones in the club who can criticise players?
Everyone has an opinion on why Port Adelaide is not performing well. You could certainly feel the tension in the Magarey room after the game Saturday night. David Koch, Jackson Trengove, Tom Jonas and Ken Hinkley all spoke to the small gathering of fans that remained looking for answers. It was difficult to walk away with much confidence or clear direction the situation is going to turn around. But credit to them for at least fronting up.
Rather than be offended by the harsh truth in what Koch said maybe the players need to concentrate on playing an AFL standard of football. The players have spent a lot of time talking the talk in recent times. We keep hearing we are going to see “Port Adelaide football” Part of playing for Port Adelaide also means being accountable for performance whether that is accountability to David Koch, Keith Thomas, Ken Hinkley or the supporters. Don’t shoot the messenger, David Koch said what a lot of frustrated supporters are feeling and did so in a kinder manner than what was coming from the stands Saturday night.