AFL 1 year ago

A farewell game for Jay Schulz. Yay or nay?

  • A farewell game for Jay Schulz. Yay or nay?

    ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 27: Jay Schulz of the Power reacts after kicking a goal during the round one AFL match between the Port Adelaide Power and the St Kilda Saints at Adelaide Oval on March 27, 2016 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

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Jay Schulz has not been included in the Port Adelaide team to face Melbourne this weekend and the harsh reality is his AFL career is over. The next question is should Port Adelaide look to give Schulz a farewell game at AFL level? The last home game Port Adelaide has is next week’s showdown against the Crows.

Jay Schulz has declared this season he wants to play on next year but if Port Adelaide is serious about list management decisions then unfortunately Jay Schulz will not be offered a new deal. It is a tough call given how much Schulz has given Port Adelaide but sometimes the right decision is not always the most popular.

You will struggle to find a Port supporter who does not admire what Jay Schulz has done since he crossed over to Port Adelaide from Richmond at the end of the 2009 season. Schulz has revived his career and he can be extremely proud of a record that includes 192 games and kicking 330 goals.

The simple question Port Adelaide has to ask is should they be giving a contract extension to a 31 year old that has had multiple injuries and back surgery twice in the last year and played 5 AFL games in 2016? The answer is no.

Port Adelaide must however take their share of the blame for how Jay Schulz has been utilised at AFL level this season. When Schulz underwent further back surgery earlier in the year he endured a long lay-off as expected. Schulz returned to football at SANFL level for the Port Magpies and played his first competitive game in 12 weeks.

Schulz contributed with 2 goals but as expected was extremely rusty after such a long period out of the game. Stevie Wonder could see Schulz was nowhere near ready to play AFL football.  Somehow Schulz found himself straight back in the AFL team after an average game and three months out.  It was simply nowhere near satisfactory preparation for AFL football and while Port Adelaide has come under scrutiny this season with team selection, the fitness staff  must also come into question  on how Jay Schulz has been managed.

Schulz as expected struggled back at AFL level and really could you blame him? After 4 games in a row at AFL level and a return of 6 goals Schulz was dropped after the round 18 loss to GWS. What will also have been of concern is not only the lack of goals but Schulz was unable to contribute with forward line pressure or getting any of the ball when pushing further up the ground.  Based on stats alone there was no possible way Schulz could be considered for selection this week after last week’s SANFL game in which Schulz only kicked a solitary goal along with 7 disposals.

In the SANFL this week Port Adelaide face Glenelg and Jay Schulz will be hoping his output increases but it is likely too little too late to save his AFL career.  This season should not detract that Jay Schulz has been a wonderful servant for Port Adelaide but unfortunately the man affectionately known as Sarge will not get the fairy tale finish and Port Adelaide Premiership he was craving.

With no finals action awaiting the Power do they give Jay Schulz a swansong at Adelaide Oval next week?  Many pundits believe Port Adelaide need to be promoting youth and Jesse Palmer is one who will make his debut this week but really the year is over. If Jay Schulz does not get a farewell game then the club need to ensure the career of Jay Schulz is recognised and celebrated.

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