(Author's note: I first posted this article about a month back, and I've been struggling this onto my personal blog. These are out-dated views, but it shows how far we've come in a month.)
Hi all, and welcome to my first post on fansunite.com.au.
My name is Jamie Baker, and I have been a fan of Port (Adelaide) Power since our inception into the AFL in 1997. I've been through the highs and the lows, the Premiership and the record-breaking Grand Final loss, and everything in-between.
Let me just say before I start, a big congratulations and a happy retirement to one of our club champions and Premiership winners, Kane Cornes. A great servant to the Port Adelaide Football Club, and it was a great moment when he was cheered off the ground while his teammates chaired him off. Be safe in the MFS, you have a family to look after!
Looking into the 2015 season so far, the Power are far from their best. I've been in attendance for their last two home games (Mother's Day against West Coast, and this past Sunday against Richmond) and I've noticed some GLARING holes in the way we're playing the game today.
Firstly, our set shot specialist, the old "dead-eye-dick", Jay Schulz, has gone off the boil. I don't know what's happened this pre-season, or what the coaching staff are trying to do with him, but it is NOT working. This is the guy that, if my memory serves me correctly, had an eighty percent conversion rate in front of goal just 2 seasons ago. That's four out of five shots between the big sticks, no matter whether it be a set shot or on the run. This past week against his former club Richmond, he missed from maybe ten metres out, on about a thirty degree angle. For someone that used to be a contender for the Coleman Medal, that is just unacceptable. If the coaching staff are trying to change his methods (similar to Josh Kennedy for West Coast losing his stutter-step), then they should stop. Let Schulz kick his way, the way he always has, and he'll be back to his 5-goal-a-game ways in no time.
Next on the agenda, our ability to keep the ball within our forward 50 is dismal to say the least. Multiple times this season we have bombed the ball long into the forward line (another issue in itself), only for the ball to be turned over faaaaaaaar too easily. Yes, we have some of the best crumbing small forwards in the league, but they're playing on the 50 metre line far too often, so it's left to the guys like Schulz, Westhoff and Ryder to try to crumb their own ball if it's spoiled. These are tall fellas, and it's not easy for them to get to ground. It allows the opposition's smaller half-back's to swoop in and collect the ball at ground level, and push it back to the wings. We either need to stop pushing our small forwards towards the defense, or play one small forward up front with Schulz/Westhoff/Ryder at ALL times. It will bring back some of those great pack goals that we've seen from the likes of Wingard, Wines and Monfries over the last few seasons.
The final point I will make in this post, which kind of relates to my previous point, is that the Power can't seem to hit a team where it hurts when we do push forward. Inaccuracy and missing targets are big problems, but what's the point in putting all your pressure on your defense if you're not going to help them up forward? I know I've mentioned the Richmond game a few times, but it was only yesterday I was at Adelaide Oval, so it's the freshest in my memory. Last night, in the third quarter, we kept Richmond scoreless...
This doesn't happen very often in the world of AFL, and when it does, it normally means the team that does score, scores a lot. Not last night. Port kicked 1.4... 10 points... Dismal again. And the reasons? Inaccuracy, rushing possession and not keeping the ball inside the 50. Everything I've just mentioned. First quarter, inside 50's, Power 9 to Richmond 18. 3 goals to Richmond, none to the Power. Second quarter, the inside 50 stat was flipped on it's head, Power 18 to Richmond 9. Goals? Richmond 4, Power 3... WHAT?!?! Last night we put far too much pressure on our defense, only to be wasteful going forward.
Unfortunately, last night was a glaring insight into what's wrong with our club at the moment. And it wasn't just last night, it's been the last 8 weeks of the same inconsistencies. Unless we can turn the previous points around dramatically, we're going to have one hell of a hill to climb come the split-rounds in a few weeks time.
Thanks for reading, and keep an eye out for my next post!