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Corn the Pear

Debutant
Apr 29, 2019
56
88
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
I didn’t get a chance to punch a review out on Friday and with the nature of the season I’m typing one out 10 hours before Port head back out to play so I’ll keep it short.

For mine, Wines set the game up early, with 11 possessions at 84% D/E in the first quarter he set the game up as Port piled on the first 6 goals before Melbourne scrapped one together just before half time. Travis Boak continued his AA form, 8 clearances, 25 touches and a goal, another top shelf performance. For the second week in a row we saw a glimpse of the future as Mitch Georgiades (we’ll refer to him here as MG in honour of our new major sponsors) took 2 contested marks, one in particular drifting across the front of the pack as he kicked the first of his 3 goals for the night. At 18, 191cm and 80kg ( reportedly 3cm taller and 3kg heavier than when he arrived in October 2019 to the club ) he’s got the frame of a big key forward in the making, while Todd Marshall looks to be a player in the making to have a big bodied young key forward coming through is pretty pleasing for Port fans.

After the St Kilda game I called for more from the inside mids, Wines and Boak delivered, on the outside Amon, Houston, Mayes, Butters and Duursma ( all 15+ disposals ) shared the ball around. . Against St Kilda only Wines with 18 topped that mark. More inside, more outside and more importantly the pressure the midfield applied to the inept Melbourne midfield exacerbated their inability to move the ball forward, but, to be fair Port’s back line is typically hard to shake and the likes of McDonald, Weideman, Melksham and Pickett hardly put the fear of Russell Ebert into any defensive unit.

Mayes in particular has been impressive since coming back into the AFL scene, after spending a couple of years toiling away at the level below he’s taken this opportunity with both hands so far. He’s sure with his hands and ball use and looks like he’ll make one of the back half ( Bonner ) earn his spot in the side

In the middle Ladhams, despite being beaten soundly by Gawn, didn’t give in, he’s raw Pistol Pete and Gawn was always going to get the better of him winning the hitouts 44-13 Melbourne won the clearances by just one, 30-29, much of this to do with the work of Wines, Boak while Ladhams and DBJ both had 4 clearances each, enough to help Port win the ball in the middle, get it forward and gain the repeat entries that are the corner stone of Port’s game. Inside 50’s 47 to 31 and Port run at 74% D/E to Melbourne at 66%. Game over.

Dave's best – Wines, Boak, Amon, Mayes, MG, DBJ.
 

Corn the Pear

Debutant
Apr 29, 2019
56
88
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
Another day, another review, thankfully another Port win but it didn’t look like that early on, the Bulldogs certainly jumped out of the box faster than Port did. In particular in the middle and winning the territory battle the Bulldogs dominated early possession but failed to look like scoring, both goals in the opening quarter came from the goal line, one from a 50m penalty and one from an unchecked player on the line. On the other hand Port were struggling to move the ball with any purpose forward of centre and bar a touch of class from Rozee who ducked and weaved his way into some space, chipped to SPP who kicked truly. The Dogs by 9 points at ¼ time but they were far more in front than that.



First to the ball and without much pressure being applied the Bulldogs sent the ball into their forward line repeatedly but lacked any effective key forward, Bruce had just 2 touches for the night, Tom Clurey giving him nothing while Jonas and McKenzie both did their bit when needed.



The second quarter was again on the Dogs terms, at half time they’re +13 for I50’s but the margin was just 3 points after Wines and Gray both converted on the run and the Dogs added just the one major for the term. Whilst they had the better of the match to date I felt Port were getting back to even keel in the middle in particular, Ladhams was getting on top of English, Wines and Rockliff were getting first hands on it.



Up front Butters was building some pressure that was starting to spread through the side, Gray was looking likely and Mayes, Amon and Hartlett were doing some good work around the middle and back of centre. The half finished with an enormous pack mark from Xavier Duursma that left both Jonas and Bruce reeling on the ground, with fewer people in the stadium and the crowd in a lull the crash of bodies could be heard, I was around 80m away and heard the crunch.



My guess is the rocket went off in the Port rooms at half time as the third quarter saw a noticeable increase in the pressure Port were applying to the opposition in particular from Rockliff (15 tackles) and Butters. Butters was sensational in the 3rd quarter, 11 touches, 4 tackles and 3 clearances to go with some clever ball use. While Rozee took the early plaudits from the competition from the class of 2018, Duursma closed in on him showing his durability at the end of 2019 and now Butters has elevated himself to another level, perhaps one that has surpassed both of his classmates. Perhaps not, but it’s a good discussion to be having! Port owned the 3rd, territory and score board, 4 goals to one point. Dixon was imposing himself, kicking two and missing one, Gray was again looking dangerous.



The last quarter was a bit of an arm wrestle, the Dogs again had plenty of the ball and had 8 shots to 3 for the term but 2.6 ( and 3.9 from turnovers for the night ) isn’t going to win you many matches, they simply didn’t use the ball at all well from the centre of the field where Macrae, Liberatore, Bontempelli, Smith and Dunkley all had 20+ touches, Wallis, Bruce and Weightman, the three close to goal forwards had 16 touches between them for 1 mark and 1 goal, include 1 huge dummy spit as Mitch Wallis threw the ball away in disgust having to leave the field with the blood rule when he had a shot on goal. Must have had himself in a multi. Cudos to Boyd Woodcock, looked at home at the top level in his first game.



Dave's best – Butters, Wines, Rockliff, Amon, Ladhams, Gray



Changes for Saturday v Richmond :



I expect Mayes to get a game for his hit, perhaps Ebert may recover from his concussion, Bonner may be back allowing Houston to go into the middle, pushing Woodcock out the side. Lycett may be fit but does he replace Ladhams? Burton and Motlop still a ways off.
 

Corn the Pear

Debutant
Apr 29, 2019
56
88
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
Nothing better than getting the test paper back from your teacher with an “A” on the top of it and this morning Hinkley will be handing out 22 of them. I’d imagine it would be a good feeling, didn’t happen to me too often though.



The opening to Saturday’s game was electric to say the least. If the game needed a marker to set the standard it only took 1 minute for Pistol Pete Ladhams to set the benchmark high with a remarkable snap from the boundary. Minutes later Dixon has clunked one and slotted it, Gray hits the board on the run and Amon pin points Butters to have Port 4 goals for the good and flying. It should have been 6 goals to nothing after big Charlie missed two sitters from right in front and it felt like they might be costly as Richmond transitioned the ball with ease from defence to attack and goals to Lynch and two to Riewoldt, the Tigers are also here to play. Ports pressure was immense early, Powell-Pepper in particular showing the type of attack on body and ball that is elite at AFL level in the modern game.



Anyone who watches the game knows Richmond don’t lay down and so it was in the second quarter as they kick 3 of the first 4 for the term and take the lead midway through the term. They’d got their Richmond game going and when they do they’re hard to stop, but this Port side (please, please, please) has a bit more about it. Growth from several players around the 50-60 game mark in Amon, Houston and SPP have given Port some more depth in the midfield to back up the exceptional work of Boak, Wines, Gray and in the last 3 weeks Rockliff. Woodcock, Gray and Amon hit the scoreboard at the Hill end and Port go into half time in front, on top, but wary.



After half time Port’s pressure dropped, partly through Richmond getting their hands on the ball more in space and opening Port up across the middle of the ground, a couple of coast to coast goals to Chol who had a nice match up on Lienert and again Richmond take the lead and hold it at ¾ time. There was a 16 and a half minute test ahead of Port coming and we needed some of our inside mids to get us forward and our back to lock it in. That’s exactly what unfolded.



With some pressure from Woodcock creating a bit of panic in the Richmond back half Butters busts through to give Gray the easiest of his 3 for the day, again it was F50 pressure from Sutcliffe and Boak that get the ball to dangerous space and Houston snaps truly. In the most entertaining of circumstances Rockliff goals on the back of a 100m penalty and the 10,000 at the Portress are in full voice. Magnificent. From here on Port dominate, without hurting the scoreboard, the last quarter. The midfield took total control at the stoppages and kept pumping the ball forward. 18 to 1 I50’s at one point for the term and the back 7 are killing any forward thrust by the Tigers.



Port’s back group held them to just 24 Inside 50’s for the match, their season average is 44. An exceptional job from a group who are starting to win the accolades they deserve and credit to back line coach Brett Montgomery. Anyone who trolls through these reviews know how often I bang on about our back half, they were brilliant on the weekend. Guarding dangerous space, choking ground making it difficult for sides to exit their back half is just one part of the structure. Take note of the work Port’s forwards do when manning the mark when opposition defenders have the ball. There’s pressure in their face, there’s no easy get out kick and the switch is often covered by Ports forwards taking space. The only option is the down the line kick where Jonas and no fuss Clurey are waiting.



In reality though it was in the midfield that Port took the 4 points. Wines, 28 touches, 11 tackles, 10 clearances, 7 I50’s and a goal had to work bloody hard to trump Boak’s 31, 3 tackles, 7 clearances, 7 I50’s and a major. Throw in Rockliff, SPP, Amon, Houston and Gray along with the tandem Lycett and Ladhams combination. Centre clearances Port’s way 20 to 5. 40 to 22 across the field. Brilliant. Wins us the territory, sets up the zone, Richmond get 24 inside 50’s for the match. When you consider they had 17 scoring shots from 24 I50’s and Port missed 4 simple shots on goal the 21 points might just flatter the Tigers a little. Bar the third term Port were well on top in all key indicators.



One of the tougher best players list to pick as I’d love to have several more in there.



Dave’s best – Wines, Gray, Boak, Amon, Ladhams, Rockliff, Butters, Jonas
 

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Corn the Pear

Debutant
Apr 29, 2019
56
88
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
Outcoached when preparing for the match. Outplayed by a team who executed their plan better than we did. The End.



It was apparent early that Geelong had a game plan devised to counter the one Port play. In the opening term we saw Geelong exit sideways from defence, one, this gave them space to move it through the midfield and, two, meant they went around our zone instead of trying to pick through it as sides often do, that’s a hard ask and Geelong knew it, so they went around and it worked a treat. To execute this though means good ball use by foot and the Cats went at 75% disposal efficiency on Friday night, up from their season average 71%. Not a huge difference but it makes all the difference to creating space in the midfield.



Not that Port had much forward 50 entry early on ( only 37 for the night, -10 on season average ) but when they did the Cats backs crowded space 30-40m from goal, the zone where Port like to drop the ball, it gives Dixon a run at it and the smalls know where to gather. A lot of our attacks get set up with the midfield having possession 70-80m from goal, as such our attacking spot is around 30-40m out and that zone was filled with Cats jumpers. The midfield, under pressure more often than not couldn’t execute and the ball, as mentioned above, came out with ease.



When the defence of any team moves the ball without pressure the midfield have a field day, 60 more uncontested possessions and 103 marks to 53, if you can’t isolate your big full forward one-on-one with those numbers you’re doing something wrong. Geelong didn’t do much wrong in that sense, not only did Hawkins have the ball delivered to his advantage Clurey was powerless to do anything about it in one-on-one contests. With 6cm and 15kg on his opponent coupled with a midfield moving uncontested into the forward half and delivering it on a platter you could say Hawkins was unlucky to only end up with 6 such was the delivery he was getting. Typically Port get Jonas up as the third man in the contest to help out on the big key forwards, that’s only when the zone slows play down and he has a chance to get across to the contest. Neither happened and the move of Jonas onto Hawkins was futile, he’s smaller and lighter than Clurey and wasn’t going to fare any better in the one-on-ones, it had to be pressure up the field and that never came.



But, oddly enough and despite the total dominance of the Cats in the opening half it was just 15 point at half time and it was 7 scoring shots a piece. How? If not for Boak and to a lesser extent Powell-Pepper in the first half the margin would have been much, much more. I’ve mentioned it plenty of times, get the ball forward, pressure the defenders, lock it in, win the territory. We did a couple of them, 50 tackles and 10 inside 50 would normally see Port hold ground, but not against the bigger bodies of Geelong’s back half. Stewart, Touhy and the rejuvenated Henderson broke tackles when they were under pressure and that was rare, 37 uncontested possession between them and 23 marks. From here they dish it up on a plate to Guthrie who had a night out, Dangerfield, Menegola and Miers who makes me vomit every time he goes to kick the ball. Not since Paul Northeast has there been a bloke whose played at the top level and can’t kick. And they made up the word Gryan to use as a name. Fair dinkum.



Anywho defence moves it out with ease, midfield get space to work in, forwards get one-on-ones. The End.



Dave's best – Boak, Houton, Amon, Powell-Pepper



Hopefully a blip on the radar, but more of a reflection of a perennial contender flexing their muscle. Literally.



Onto the Hawks at home on Saturday where a bounce back is required to hold onto top spot. Getting tight at the top with 1 game between 1st and 5th and the Tigers another game back.
 

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