Port Adelaide expects Travis Boak to be available for the opening game of the season after copping some friendly fire in the last JLT hit out against the Hawks. As the captain sat on the bench iced up it confirmed what we already know, Ollie Wines is not the kind of person you want charging into you. Fortunately Boak is expected to be declared fit and in doing so will lead the Power in his 200th match against the Swans.
In reaching the milestone the Victorian will become only the third player on the current Power list along with Justin Westhoff and Angus Monfries to have played 200 games. A great achievement and at 28 years of age he should still have plenty of football ahead of him. Currently contracted until the end of the 2019 season.
Drafted with pick 5 at the 2006 National Draft a high level of expectation was on Travis Boak right from the start as there often is with early draftees. Rightly or wrongly the Victorian has spent much of his career being compared to Geelong skipper Joel Selwood who was drafted two picks later and has gone on to be a triple Premiership player.
Perhaps the comparisons are a little harsh given players can’t choose the club and environment they join. While Joel Selwood is an absolute star it cannot be dismissed that Travis Boak has been a very good player in his own right. Average players are not club captains with 2x All-Australian selections and a Best & Fairest award in the trophy cabinet.
Alberton has not always been the easiest of places for players to develop since Boak arrived at the end of 2006. Financial constraints and issues around the football department that existed previously at the club are well documented. The Port captain has seen Mark Williams and Matthew Primus depart as senior coaches during his tenure and there has also been a raft of changes with assistant coaches, mass player turnover and substantial change to the club off field as well as on.
Travis Boak has seen the highs and lows as a Port Adelaide footballer. Playing in a Grand Final in his first year the club in 2007 was a massive high, but unfortunately a result which saw Port narrowly defeated by 20 goals probably overshadows playing in a Grand Final.
Boak along with Justin Westhoff are the only current players that remain on the Power list who played that fateful September day. From playing in a Grand Final it would not be until 2013 the current skipper would taste finals football again. Unfortunately it does emphasise how poorly Port Adelaide has performed for the best part of a decade.
With poor performance it can often be difficult for clubs to hold onto their top end talent. The Victorian has had ample opportunity to leave and many felt a move back home was inevitable when Geelong tried to woo Boak to the Cattery in 2012. As a great show of faith Boak remained at Alberton when it would have been very easy to pack up and leave.
This commitment when the Power was at a very low point in their history is something that should never be forgotten and Boak’s words back then are still words supporters would love to hear from anyone who pulls on a Port Adelaide guernsey today “I love the club. I love my teammates and I love the culture. They're family to me now. I couldn't leave them”
Everyone at Port Adelaide is on notice to perform this season. Many felt the skipper was below his best last year but he is a proud person and a strong leader. 200 games is an achievement to be celebrated and applauded but the journey is not finished. Hopefully a journey that will include a Premiership before Travis Boak hangs up the boots.
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