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Season review: Port Adelaide

Lee Gaskin  September 13, 2017 7:46 PM

Experienced Port trio on the chopping block We dissect what went right and what went wrong for Port Adelaide

In a nutshell

An impressive result to finish fifth on the ladder, but it will take the Power a long time to get over their heart-breaking extra-time elimination final loss to West Coast.


Have your say: Give your season verdict on the Power using the form at the bottom of this article.


What we said in the pre-season  

No one tipped the Power to return to the top eight, let alone finish as high as fifth. Midfield bull Sam Powell-Pepper lived up to the hype, finishing third in the NAB AFL Rising Star voting after several reporters tipped he would take out the award.  

What worked 

Paddy Ryder's return was a massive boost, establishing himself as the competition's premier ruckman. Key forward Charlie Dixon had an outstanding season, Robbie Gray's move as a permanent forward was a success, Chad Wingard was an X-factor in the midfield and Powell-Pepper, Dan Houston, Dougal Howard and Todd Marshall have bright futures.

What failed

The Power's goalkicking accuracy was a major concern and cost them several games, including the elimination final where they had 26 scoring shots to 18. Jackson Trengove's move to the forward line was a failure, while experienced players Matt White, Angus Monfries, Aaron Young and Brendon Ah Chee couldn't hold down regular spots in the side.

Overall rating: B

The Power exceeded expectations, but will be disappointed with the way things finished. 

The coach

Ken Hinkley made a few changes and most of them worked. He wasn't afraid to play the young players and they repaid his faith. Hamish Hartlett, Chad Wingard and Sam Gray excelled in their new roles. Hinkley comes off contract at the end of 2018, but the Power should lock him in long-term. 

The leaders 

It took Travis Boak some time to adapt to a new forward/midfield role, but he lifted late in the season when the stakes were high. Ollie Wines embraced being handed the vice-captaincy and will be the Power's long-term skipper. 

MVP

Robbie Gray: Played predominately forward and won the Power several games off his own boot. On track to win his fourth club champion award in a row.

Surprise packet

Dan Houston: Looked at home across half-back after debuting in round one. His field kicking is excellent and possesses poise and solid decision making. Rewarded with a two-year extension. 

Get excited

Sam Powell-Pepper: What a beast. Delivered plenty of don't argues in his debut season, the midfield bull finishing third in the NAB AFL Rising Star award.

Disappointment

Jackson Trengove: The experienced utility couldn't find a spot in the side after being moved to the forward line this year. Dropped for the last four games of the season and appears set to leave the club via free agency.

Best win

Round 19: Port Adelaide 9.9 (63) d St Kilda 8.13 (61) at Adelaide Oval

One for the ages. Paddy Ryder's superb tap set up for Robbie Gray to break St Kilda hearts, booting the match-winning goal with seven seconds on the clock. 

Low point

Showdown 43 was an absolute fizzer, unless you're an Adelaide supporter. Port were totally outclassed, smashed by 84 points in the round 20 encounter with the Crows.

The big questions

Does this list have enough quality to be a genuine premiership contender?
The Power have an outstanding ruckman, a strong key forward, a young backline and a solid midfield. But they're probably one or two additions away from challenging the very best in the competition on a regular basis. Jury is still out after the Power struggled against top-eight teams this year.

Can the forward line provide enough support to Charlie Dixon?
Hinkley lived up to his promise of returning the Power to the finals. The Power should reward him with a new deal, but they will face intense competition from Gold Coast, who will see him as the ideal coach to build the struggling club from the ground up.

Will the Power lock in coach Ken Hinkley to a long-term contract?
Losing to the Eagles after the siren will either motivate the Power to take the next step, or will hang over them like a curse. The Power's young players will be better for the experience and develop the necessary hunger to do whatever it takes to make amends.

Season in a song

Heartbreak Hotel – Elvis Presley 

Premiership window

Three-quarters open: Time to take the next step  

Who's done?

Retirements: TBC 
Delistings: TBC
Unsigned free agents: Jackson Trengove

How should they approach trade and draft period?

The Power could be in the market for an experienced forward and have been linked to Daniel Menzel and Steven Motlop. The Power traded their first-round draft pick and currently their first selection is at pick No.29.  

Early call for 2018

A top-four finish should be the aim with the development of young players and no significant retirements or departures. 

Port fans: what's your season verdict?

Share your views via the form below and we'll publish the best responses on Sunday, September 24. 

Having trouble on the app? Click here to open the form in a web view

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The Wash-Up: more season reviews