Another chance to prove to the AFL community that it was the real deal. Yet somehow Port Adelaide did what they have been accustomed to doing, losing when it matters most.
Last night’s 31-point loss to Melbourne was perhaps the end of Port Adelaide’s premiership chances. Despite only being able to drop down to fifth, it is now clear that Port cannot match it with the big boys of the competition.
Second best for the majority of the night, several decisions left many Port fans scratching their heads. In particular Aliir Aliir.
Having been without a doubt Port’s best defender all year, Ken Hinkley decided that in a game with so much on the line, he would shuffle the deck and have Aliir play as the second ruck to combat Luke Jackson.
In doing so, taking one of the side’s best defensive weapons out of the backline. Surely Peter Ladhams would have been the better choice as the second ruck option but that then makes Port too tall going forward.
It was just a horror night for Port Adelaide in a showpiece game. Many players were found wanting as they often have against the good sides.
The win over Richmond in round four looks less impressive as the weeks go on and it was lucky to escape with a win over Sydney.
Where it stands at the moment is Port is far better than the sides in the bottom eight, but not good enough to compete consistently with the top sides in the league. So where does that leave them?
In the “not good enough” category for mine. Perhaps it is time to give young Mitch Georgiades a rest, as well as Todd Marshall as they have offered little aside from Mitch’s Mark of the Year contender last night.
A circuit breaker needs to be found. Whether that is switching up the magnets or a new coaching directive, something needs to change for Port Adelaide.
The hurt on social media from Port fans was there to see. Angry, frustrated, fed up and so much more. Much of the blame was directed at Ken Hinkley and it is obvious to see why.
Port seems to crumble when up against the best in the business. Whether that is player or coach-driven is up for debate however it could very well be both.
Scott Lycett was beaten as we have never seen before, the forward line was a shadow of its former self. Injuries to Robbie Gray, Orazio Fantasia, a half-walking Zak Butters, and Connor Rozee make it nearly impossible to kick a winning score.
The common denominator this season from journalists is that Port Adelaide’s midfield is not deep enough. Last night proved that to be true. Aside from Ollie Wines, Port didn’t give a yelp.
Travis Boak, the star is he can not be forced to be the best player on the ground week in and week out given his age. However, that is what needs to happen if Port is to challenge.
Does the list need a revamp of sorts? As to the coaching department? Many fans are calling for Hinkley’s head after last night.
Keep in mind Port was one goal away from a grand final appearance however that counts for little now.
With Alastair Clarkson potentially gettable, Port Adelaide would be foolish not to at least entertain the idea. Depending on how Port finishes the season, Hinkley could be coaching for his job.
The snag would be that he is contracted through to 2023, so any movement would need a serious payout from the club, which is most likely a big stumbling block.
After what was deemed a successful year in 2020, Port Adelaide seems to be treading water. If they are going to challenge then something needs to change and change quickly.