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Season review: Port Adelaide

Power's season came to a crashing halt after so much promise - AFL,Season reviews,Port Adelaide Power
Power's season came to a crashing halt after so much promise

In a nutshell

The Power were a top-four contender sitting at 11-4 after round 16, before collapsing in epic fashion, losing six of their last seven games to miss the finals altogether.

What we said in the pre-season 

The Power were predicted by a majority of experts to finish between fifth and eighth on the ladder. A lot of that hope was on the back of their off-season recruits Tom Rockliff, Jack Watts and Steven Motlop making an impact at their new club. Former Melbourne speedster Dom Barry was also tipped to be in the Power's best 22 after receiving a lifeline from SANFL club Glenelg last year.


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


What worked

Veterans ageing like a fine red
Swingman Justin Westhoff, 31, had arguably the best season of his career, playing on the wing, up forward and helping out in the ruck.

Defence holds up despite key injuries
Without Hamish Hartlett and Matthew Broadbent most of the season, the Power's backline, led well by All Australian nominee Tom Jonas, was superb in restricting their opponents.

Wines commits future to the Power
The Power vice-captain resisted overtures to return to Victoria when he signed a four-year extension until the end of 2022 in June.

What failed

Experienced recruits fall short
Steven Motlop was hot and cold, Tom Rockliff was hampered by injury and Jack Watts had a spell in the SANFL. Lindsay Thomas, Jack Trengove and Trent McKenzie were barely sighted.

Close losses with season on the line
A shock nine-point defeat to strugglers Fremantle in Perth was the first of six losses in the Power's last seven games, that included a three-point defeat to Adelaide and a loss to West Coast after the siren.

Quality outside runner on the move
Winger Jared Polec looks destined to leave the Power and accept North Melbourne's lucrative offer after his career-best season.

Polec appears certain to leave the Power in the Trade Period. Picture: AFL Photos

Overall rating

D.

The Power went all in with their recruiting. To miss the finals, after being a top-four contender, was a major disappointment.

The coach

It was a difficult year for Ken Hinkley. He had to get creative in the ruck when All Australian Paddy Ryder did his Achilles early in the season, and then had key forward Charlie Dixon go down late in the year. Hinkley's future is secure having signed a three-year extension until 2021.

The leaders 

Skipper Travis Boak had a consistent season, averaging 21.9 disposals per game playing across half-forward and through the midfield. Boak has captained the Power since 2013. It could be time for the 30-year-old to hand the captaincy to vice-captain Ollie Wines after he signed a long-term deal, although key defender Tom Jonas is another option to lead the side.

MVP

Justin Westhoff: The 31-year-old veteran of 248 games was a model of consistency, playing all 22 games. Westhoff turned back the clock with an impressive season, playing across the wing, up forward and also in the ruck.

Surprise packet

Dan Houston: The 21-year-old established himself across half-back, playing every game and looked at home with his run and carry.

Get excited

Kane Farrell: The 19-year-old medium forward showed plenty of promise in his five games at the end of the season, kicking six goals, including three in the first quarter of the round 20 Showdown.

Disappointment

Jack Watts: Was sent back to the SANFL midway through the season. The former Melbourne forward averaged less than a goal per game.

Best win

Round 8: Port Adelaide 14.11 (95) d Adelaide 14.6 (90)

The Power snapped a five-game losing streak over their cross-town rivals with Steven Motlop's match-winning goal with 21 seconds on the clock.

Best individual performance

Robbie Gray. Round eight v Adelaide

The four-time All Australian put the Power on his back with five goals in the third quarter. Gray finished with six goals, 20 disposals and five clearances to claim his third Showdown Medal.

Low point

The Power lost Paddy Ryder, Charlie Dixon and Dan Houston to injury in a dramatic third quarter against West Coast in round 21. The Eagles stormed home, Jeremy McGovern kicking a goal after the siren to secure an unlikely victory.

The big questions

Will the Power's recruits be more effective next season?

Can the Power become a premiership contender, or will their ageing list slide down the ladder?

Does Travis Boak remain captain for a seventh season, or does Ollie Wines or Tom Jonas take over?

Season in a song

It Will All End In Tears, by The Drums

Who's done?

Retirements: Lindsay Thomas

Delistings: Emmanuel Irra, Jimmy Toumpas

Unsigned free agents: Justin Westhoff

How should they approach trade and draft period?

The Power are favourites to sign West Coast restricted free agent ruckman Scott Lycett, who can support Paddy Ryder and become the club's No.1 ruckman in the future. The Power should also add speed through the midfield in a draft full of South Australian talent.

Early call for 2019

The Power should be aiming to return to the finals, given the age profile of their list and the players at their disposal.

Power fans: what's your season verdict?

Share your views via the form below and we'll publish the best responses on Friday, September 14. 

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