We analyse Port Adelaide’s 2014 season.
Fremantle Dockers Report Card: We rate the Dockers’ topsy turvy 2014 season
AFL trade news: Port Adelaide skipper Travis Boak to help lure Essendon ruckman to the club
Grand Final team news: Hawthorn midfielder to play in AFL Grand Final despite bone break
(Regular Season: 5th, 14 wins, 8 losses; Finals: knocked out in preliminary final against Hawthorn)
What went right?
The turnaround under Ken Hinkley has been incredible, and if their kicking in front of goal was better against Hawthorn on Saturday nobody could have begrudged the Power a spot in the Grand Final.
Port started off like a house on fire and looked a universe away from the side that struggled near the bottom of the ladder just two seasons ago.
Port’s mid-late season form slump threatened to totally derail their season, but the Power hit their straps at just the right time in the lead in to September and will consider themselves unlucky not be playing at the MCG this coming weekend.
What went wrong?
Apart from the mid-season form slump, not much.
Despite coming desperately close to a Grand Final apperance, the Power faithful have to be content with a season that saw their side make giant strides in every facet of their game.
If anything, Port’s biggest letdown of the season was its goalkicking in the preliminary final, where Ken Hinkley’s side kicked 13.16 to go down by three points.
The obvious choice is Robbie Gray, but the Power had outstanding performers all over the field all season.
Gray won the AFL Players’ Association MVP award, and deservedly so, but the influential work of skipper Travis Boak and the goalkicking prowess of Jay Schulz shouldn’t go unrecognised.
Youngsters Chad Wingard, Ollie Wines and Hamish Hartlett were superb and it all bodes well for 2015.
Well, it’s very bright.
There’s no doubt the Power will challenge for the premiership in 2015, and with an average age of just 24.7, its premiership window will remain open for a few years yet.
Ken Hinkley deserved a majority of the credit for Port’s recent successes and he’ll be given the time to nurture the group in its push towards its first flag since 2004.
Season score: 8.5/10