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PorAdelaide Robbie Gray 2018

Port Adelaide Power AFL 2018 Season Preview


New faces power-up Port

Key Ins: Tom Rockliff (Brisbane Lions), Steve Motlop (Geelong Cats), Jack Watts (Melbourne Demons)

Key Outs: Jackson Trengove (Western Bulldogs), Brandon Ah-Chee (West Coast Eagles), Aaron Young (Gold Coast Suns), Jarman Impey (Hawthorn Hawks), Logan Austin (St. Kilda Saints)

 

Overview

Port Adelaide were looking strong going into the 2017 finals series. However, in their elimination final at home against West Coast, the Power lost a nail-biter in the second period of extra-time. This game neatly encapsulates the experience of Port Adelaide in recent times, who never fail to field a strong team or look the goods, before inevitably tripping themselves up and disappointing their loyal fans. 

Despite last year's crushing demise, there is a renewed optimism at Port Adelaide this year, with the club being the busiest in the trade period. After offloading several players to free up salary-cap space, the Power have recruited well, bringing in three high-quality players that coach Ken Hinkley will attempt to quickly integrate into the team dynamic.

The stats last year were telling when it came to Port. Ranking first in contested marks (13.7), second in goals scored (14), and third in contested possessions (150.5) per game, the Power let themselves down in dispoasal efficiency, ranking second last at (71.3%). With all the ball they won with hard yakka, Port just failed at executing in key moments, which cost them in close games. If they can turn this trend around, the Power will find themsleves in the top 4. However, it may take a few months for this new-look team to fully gel. 

Player to watch: Sam Powell-Pepper made his debut last season and was outstanding. Scoring 16 goals, and averaging 17 disposals and 5 tackles per game, he was a bit stiff to miss out on the rising star award, coming third. With plenty of scope for improvement, look for him to be a damaging force in Port's forward line.   

Key player: For a few seasons now, Robbie Gray has been the player who Port fans look to when they need a lift. Capable of playing anywhere in the forwards or the midfield, Gray ranked first in score involvements (174) and second in goals (47) for the Power last year. A tenacious player, he rarely loses out in the one-on-one battles, and will be crucial to Port's success going forward.

 

Defensive rating 5/10

Although lacking in star quality, Port's young defenders have matured into a solid group with good chemistry. Tom Clurey and Darcy Byrne-Jones in particualr stood up last year, while if Jasper Pittard can continue his upward trajectory, he will make an exceptional defender.  

Attacking threat 8/10

Big Charlie Dixon was a force to be reckoned with last season. Ranking second league-wide in contested marks (59), and booting 49 goals, he was a fan-favourite with the Port Adelaide locals. Alongside Robbie Gray, the mercurial Chad Wingard, and new recruit Jack Watts, the Power have plenty of goals in them.

Midfield strength 8/10

Tom Rockliff will come in and bolster an already strong midfield. Ollie Wines had an excellent 2017, leading his teammates in both contested possessions (317) and disposals (628), while stalwarts Brad Ebert and captain Travis Boak are always dependable in the scrappy stuff. Also watch out for ruckman Paddy Ryder who is supreme at winning the ball when it's in the air.

 

  Bookies' Verdict Our Verdict
Top 8 $1.45 Looks right, they have too much talent to miss the eight 
Premiership $9 $15
2018 Prediction 6th 7th

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