After a poor performance in showdown 40, it is clear that Port Adelaide have some issues that needs to be solved quickly. Here are what I think are some of the issues.
One main issue is their gameplan. Ken Hinkely has implemented an aggressive full team press to keep the ball in their forward 50 which so far hasn’t worked. When the crows kicked 10 goals from their defensive 50 in the showdown, you know there is something wrong with the press. They need to change this so I think keep the press but not the full press and allow the back 6 to stay on their man during the kick out so that way if it does breakdown then at least they have to kick to a 50/50 contest instead of a man all free in space.
Another issue from the match is their ball skills. Kicks and handballs missing targets when they should be hit and making crucial mistakes that resulted in goals. Port had more inside 50’s than the crows but ball use between the clubs were largely different. The crows took risks and picked out players inside 50 while Port took the conservative approach and just kicked it long. Bombing it long into the 50 doesn’t help key forwards like Charlie Dixon and Justin Westhoff as that gave the opposition time to drop back and help their defenders which made it easy for them to clear the ball out. As a result of these long kicks on the weekend, Dixon was nullified by Daniel Talia and Westhoff was not able to get his hands on the ball.
Port’s attack on the ball were sometimes half harded which is unacceptable in AFL. If you are not able to attack the ball and put ferocious pressure on the opposition then it becomes too easy for them to break free and hit targets just like what the crows did on the weekend.
There shouldn’t be any personnel changes as they all deserve to go back on the field and redeem themselves but changes to their full press is needed or else other clubs will exploit them over the back like St Kilda and Adelaide have done in the first 2 rounds.
Port have Essendon at Adelaide Oval this Friday night so what a better time to redeem yourself than on national TV where everyone will be watching. They need to use the footy better, hit targets around the ground and inside 50. They have the bring the pressure from the first bounce and show more grunt and hardness for the ball.
If the Power can accomplish all of these fundamentals then they should get back to the winners list this weekend.