It is difficult to take many positives from the loss to Carlton at Etihad stadium Sunday afternoon if you support Port Adelaide. Two points up with 7 odd minutes remaining, a decent AFL side does not lose the match.
Unfortunately Port Adelaide has shown in recent times they are not a particularly good side and are inconsistent at best. A two point loss the end result for the mentally fragile Power. Despite all the doom and gloom however one positive was the efforts again of stand in ruckman Jackson Trengove.
It might be considered a strange positive to take given Mathew Kreuzer was one of the best for Carlton as well as leaving Port Adelaide’s season in the balance when his second goal was the match winner. But Trengove certainly held his own. Despite Carlton comprehensively winning the hit outs Port Adelaide still won clearances 43-40 and Trengove had 20 disposals, 1 goal, 4 score involvements, 3 marks and 5 clearances himself.
The performance follows on from last week against Brisbane where Trengove had 25 touches, 3 score involvements, 2 marks and 13 clearances. To put this in perspective Matthew Lobbe has only had 20 touches or more once in his entire AFL career.
This season Lobbe averaged eight disposals a game before he was dropped to the SANFL. The major criticism of Matthew Lobbe is he simply has no involvement in the game outside of ruck contests. Jackson Trengove however is a different story and has emphasized the deficiencies in Matthew Lobbe’s game. Paddy Ryder also highlighted these deficiencies last year when he led the Port Adelaide ruck division.
Certainly it could be considered harsh to point out Lobbe’s shortcomings while he is currently on the sidelines injured but it is an issue that needs to be addressed whether it is now or in the coming weeks.
Many people who are in the pro Matthew Lobbe camp certainly point out Lobbe played some good football in 2014. But does one good season for a player who was drafted in 2007 strengthen or hinder the argument?
In 2014 it was very easy to get caught up in the hype of Port Adelaide. Fast, attacking and exciting football saw Port Adelaide a whisker away from playing in the Grand Final. The victories in the finals series against Richmond and Fremantle were two of the best wins in Port Adelaide’s AFL history.
But how did Matthew Lobbe perform during the 2014 finals? The disposal count certainly doesn’t paint a dominant performance with a return of 5, 5 and 6 touches. Lobbe’s direct opponent in all games had a higher disposal count. The Preliminary Final against Hawthorn especially Port Adelaide were destroyed in clearances. It could certainly be argued the performance of Lobbe in these big games was a major catalyst for Port Adelaide chasing Paddy Ryder.
It is well documented the Western Bulldogs offered Port Adelaide a first round pick for Lobbe during the trade period last year and according to some pundits even more was on offer. Failing to take this deal will be a decision that will haunt Port Adelaide.
Port Adelaide has given up first round picks in the last two seasons to obtain Paddy Ryder and Charlie Dixon. This was the opportunity to move on Lobbe and get a first round pick back into the club.
Certainly it is admirable that Matthew Lobbe wants to remain at Alberton and fight for his spot. Lobbe is well respected and was part of the Port Adelaide leadership group. For anyone who has interacted with Matthew Lobbe at after match functions and club events he is one of the nicest and approachable players on the Port Adelaide list. But decisions need to be made from a football perspective, not whether players are good blokes.
Port Adelaide certainly has many other issues to contend with for the game this week which you can argue are more pressing concerns. The ball use and decision making currently could only be described as deplorable. Captain Travis Boak is struggling as are a number of players. Jake Neade playing primarily as a small forward has only kicked 5 goals in 8 matches. Brad Ebert has failed to have 20 touches in a match since Round 1. The consistency of many other players such as Jared Polec and Justin Westhoff continues to be a mystery with their output on game day a lucky dip.
The review from the Carlton game will be a brutal one. Jackson Trengove however can certainly hold his head high. The challenge does not get any bigger than West Coast this Saturday with Nic Naitanui and Scott Lycett. Trengove is certainly going to need some assistance as Port Adelaide try to stop season 2016 becoming another write-off.
There is no question that Paddy Ryder should be the preferred number one ruckman at Port Adelaide in 2017. But Jackson Trengove has shown in the last two weeks he is a pretty handy back up option and good alternative to have. If Jackson Trengove continues to perform well it will provide more questions than answers on the future of Matthew Lobbe.