Well what a win that was over the Swans last Saturday by Port Adelaide. All pre-season doom and gloom seemed to evaporate after Port Adelaide ran out 28 point victors against the Swans at the SCG, a venue the Power had failed to win at since 2006.
It was a total team performance and while there were plenty of obvious positives such as the performance of Sam Powell-Pepper and the return of Paddy Ryder there was one performance that cannot be underestimated and that is the game from Jared Polec.
The 24 year old had 19 disposals with plenty of trademark run and carry and kicked a vital goal in the last quarter when the Swans were challenging. Known primarily as an outside player Polec also laid five tackles which was well above his career average of three.
Ken Hinkley will be delighted Polec was prepared to do the physical stuff when called upon but most importantly the midfielder looked fit, focused and ready to put the troubles of the last two years behind him.
Season 2016 was always going to be a little bit on an unknown for Polec who was returning from a serious navicular injury. It was a long rehab process and last year Polec did admit the thought of his career potentially being over after the injury was confirmed was indeed a serious possibility. “Yeah it did [cross my mind] after I saw a few surgeons – most of them weren't looking too comfortable with it. They were really trying to push for surgery – a few of them were talking about fusing it, which means I wouldn't be able to run again”
Despite a poor 2016 the ex-Lion did manage to finish the season reasonably well after some patchy form. The last six games saw Polec average 20.5 disposals per match. With 63 games under his belt the best football is hopefully still ahead.
So while it was a great win over the Swans it is only one win. The Power still need a lot of things to go right if they are to return to finals action in 2017. But a fit and firing Jared Polec cannot be undervalued. His outside run and speed is something Port has missed and the midfielder has an important role to play for a team trying to win back respect within AFL circles.
Like on Facebook: SHEEDY SAYS www.facebook.com/sheeds1984
Follow on Twitter: www.twitter.com/sheeds1984