AFL 2 years ago

Port sink deeper into the mire

  • Port sink deeper into the mire

    MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 15: Port Adelaide players look dejected after they were defeated by the Blues during the round eight AFL match between the Carlton Blues and Port Adelaide Power at Etihad Stadium on May 15, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Port Adelaide came into season 2016 with much promise and hope but with their most recent loss to a Blues outfit expected to flounder, Port Adelaide’s season is not only in free fall but greater issues are at play within Alberton.

 Carlton have shown glimpses of promise this season but many expected Port Adelaide to finally come good on their promise to play tough, compromising football to return to the heady days of consistency and success. Not to be and Port are showing glimpses of their fall from grace so evident from last season’s campaign.

 Port Adelaide’s current woes once again point to their woeful kicking efficiency. Port are dead last for effective disposals and are currently sitting below the typically “acceptable” benchmark of 70% on 69.9%. This glaring statistic lends to the belief that Port may yet have the ability to break the lines and use their run and carry to a premium, but this is little good when they turn the ball over with consummate ease.

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 Kicking efficiency is one thing and stats are only one side of the story but there is vital evidence that Port Adelaide are firmly on the back foot and without immediate resolution by Hinkley and co, there is little hope of a quick fix and a return to finals action.

 Compromising and tough football, as Hinkley invariably repeats in each press conference, does seem like a positive in theory, but when delving deeper, it links itself to their demise. Port is in the upper echelon of the competition for tackles per game, sitting on 623, startling numbers when you compare other such hard tackling clubs such as Sydney and Hawthorn are well below them in the pecking order.

 Tackling is a vital component of the modern game, but Port Adelaide’s heady tackling average lends itself to the theory that tackling does little good when they are regularly on the back foot and competing in heavy traffic when their players turn the ball over with startling consistency.

 There also seems to be a lack of effort and willingness to run into space where Port’s midfield core are concerned. Often they are caught out of position on the rebound with opposition teams taking advantage of Port’s inability to work and are gifted an almost free passage through the midfield and a rather convenient avenue to goal.

Port Adelaide can still make waves this season and return to finals action, but, this can only be achieved by a complete overhaul in the players work rate and mentality. Being a free-flowing and fit team can only get you so far, but with the lack of core skills in regards to disposal efficiency and an inability to work when not in possession of the football so evident in recent weeks Port may yet have to wait even longer to return to September action.

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