AFL 1 year ago

Groundhog Day: The Brad Ebert Edition

  • Groundhog Day: The Brad Ebert Edition

    ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 21: Brad Ebert of the Power is tackled by Mark LeCras of the Eagles during the 2016 AFL Round 09 match between Port Adelaide Power and the West Coast Eagles at the Adelaide Oval on May 21, 2016 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Media/Getty Images)

The comedy movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray is considered by many to be a cult classic. Murray plays a weatherman who is stuck in a time warp and reliving the same day over and over again. While the 1993 film provides plenty of laughs the 2016 remake starring Brad Ebert is not quite as humorous for those who support Port Adelaide.

Rounds 1 to 9 have seen Ebert become the turnover king with Ebert and Port Adelaide living their own version of Groundhog Day. Season 2016 is quickly beginning to resemble 2015.

Unfortunately for Ebert the statistics this year do not make for pleasant reading. After nine games Ebert is averaging the least amount of disposals per match since he has been at Port Adelaide.  After gathering 25 touches in the opening game of the season Ebert has only had more than 20 disposals in one of the eight games since. Up until this season Ebert has averaged over 20 disposals every year at Port Adelaide between 2012 and 2015.

Port Adelaide is currently ranked last in the league for disposal efficiency with Brad Ebert a major culprit. A clanger is what is used as a measurement through Champion Data to measure turnovers.Ollie Wines has the highest amount of clangers in the AFL and Brad Ebert is ranked second which creates a major problem in itself. Ebert is not currently getting a lot of the ball and when he does it is turned over to the opposition on a regular basis.

General disposal and field kicking was always one of the major criticisms of Ebert while he was at West Coast. Certainly many felt this had improved in recent years but it is certainly a current issue. While Ebert is no longer Vice-Captain of the club he is still part of the leadership group and the expectation from Ken Hinkley is the Port Adelaide leaders stand up and perform on game day.

Ebert finally cracked the 20 disposal mark for the first time in two months against West Coast on Saturday. But was the performance of Ebert a good one?  Only 1 kick in the first half would have to be a major concern for a senior player in the midfield. Ebert finished with 7 kicks, 15 handballs and a goal but still registered 6 direct clangers. What seems to be a regular occurrence is Ebert gathering possession and attempting to crash through tackles without success and then being forced to handball or kick under pressure.

Certainly there are many positive attributes that Ebert has. He is a very good endurance athlete and has shown he is capable of kicking a goal. Ebert is ranked sixth in the league for tackles so he does like to apply pressure and involve himself in contested situations.  Could Port Adelaide give Ebert a more defensive role in the forward line? Or does Ken Hinkley persevere with Ebert in midfield and hope he starts winning more of the ball on the outside and using it more effectively?  

At 26 years of age Ebert should be entering the prime of his football career but so far in 2016 his output and end product is moving in the wrong direction. Ebert has not been dropped to the SANFL since his return to Alberton from West Coast and he will not want that to be an occurrence now.

In Groundhog Day Bill Murray eventually woke up from his time loop and lived happily ever after. Port Adelaide fans will be hoping to wake up from Groundhog Day because reliving turnover after turnover every week is certainly not a comedy. This remake appears to be a horror movie.

Twitter: @sheeds1984

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