Sheedy Says: www.facebook.com/sheeds1984
While much of the focus on returning players for Port Adelaide next season has been on Angus Monfries and Paddy Ryder it is easy to overlook Matthew White. The speedster did not play a game at AFL level after round 1 in 2016 after a torn pectoral muscle derailed his season. The return of White will be a welcome boost to a Power side craving more speed and outside run.
Certainly it is a show of faith by Port in the 29 year old and White acknowledged this when he put pen to paper on a one year deal. “My manager actually had a go at me because I keep getting injured and he’s like ‘well how am I going to negotiate a better contract for you? We started talking about it (the contract) just after I got injured so it’s great for them to have done that for myself. I’m really excited to commit to Port Adelaide, this is a great footy club and I’ve loved the time we’ve spent here”
Since crossing over to Alberton the ex -Tiger has played 41 games to take his career tally to 146. Season 2014 was arguably the best year the midfielder has had at AFL level, kicking 25 goals and averaging 13.9 disposals per match. The highlight certainly that blistering run and goal of the year against Richmond at Etihad stadium. In 2014 White played in Port Adelaide’s finals victories over Richmond and Fremantle, the first time the new Power recruit had tasted finals action since his AFL debut in 2006.
White’s tackling is another facet to his game that should not be underestimated. He possesses great closing speed and it is a major weapon in pressuring and harassing the opposition. Certainly the ability of White to impact the scoreboard was certainly missed this year. White averaging just over a goal a game since his arrival at Port. Another 20 plus goals from midfield next year would be a welcome boost for Ken Hinkley.
It is well documented Port Adelaide has a variety of players on long-term contracts and this has proved problematic in trying to move them on from the club. Matt White starts 2017 with no such security and he knows he will need to perform if his AFL journey is to continue beyond 2017. If White can get back to his best then he still has an important role to play for the Power at AFL level next season and possibly beyond.