15/04/2024

Karl Amon and Mitch Georgiades celebrate a goal. (Image: @PAFC - Twitter; Design: Will Cuckson)

The first half of Port Adelaide's season didn't quite go to plan, but Port still has its eyes on a spot in the top eight.

As we hit the bye rounds in the AFL season, The Inner Sanctum will be conducting our mid-season reviews of all 18 clubs and assessing the first half of the season and what fortunes may lie ahead.

Up next, Port Adelaide.

Snapshot

After challenging for the premiership for the last two seasons, many expected Port Adelaide to be back in September trying to win their first flag since 2004. However, injury to key personnel and form meant the men from Alberton lost their first five games before correcting the ship, and now sit a game and percentage outside the top eight.

What’s Worked

Despite injuries to key defenders Aliir Aliir and Trent McKenzie, Port Adelaide’s defence has been able to hold up, ranking as one of the best defensive teams in the competition, currently conceding 70.9 points per game. The Power has only conceded 90 or more points on three occasions.

Riley Bonner is continuing his great form from the back end of last year along with Darcy Byrne-Jones with the pair providing the Power with plenty of run and carry off half-back. While Aliir Aliir continues to be one of the best intercepting defenders.

What Hasn’t

To start the year Port Adelaide’s forward line has not functional, the Power were hurt by having their main man Charlie Dixon go down and had to rely on Todd Marshall, Mitch Georgiades, and Jeremy Finlayson.

Port ranks 11th for inside 50s, it also ranks 11th for efficiency inside 50, so when it gets into its forward line Port Adelaide is scoring 47 per cent of the time.

Despite Todd Marshall having a career year, new recruit Jeremy Finlayson has been serviceable and Georgiades has had a disappointing year to date, the Power are one of the lowest-scoring sides, ranking 14th in points scored, averaging 74.4 per game. They also rank 15th in the competition for goals, kicking 115 goals as a team in 11 games ahead of Essendon, West Coast. and North Melbourne.

Port Adelaide’s slow starts are still a problem for Ken Hinkley’s men, only winning four first quarters in 2022, and will continue to be an area they need to improve to help its rise to a potential top-eight spot.

Biggest improver

Coming into season 2022, many supporters wanted to see Todd Marshall go to another level and this was heightened after Charlie Dixon went down with an ankle injury in the pre-season.

The key forward started the year slow but started to get going and has led Port Adelaide’s forward line in the absence of Dixon. The 23-year-old is having a career year, averaging career highs in goals, marks, contested marks, and marks inside 50.

Marshall looks set to bypass his career-high goals in a season of 24 (which he set last season), already having kicked 20 goals through 11 rounds, and with Dixon now back, Marshall will now get the second or third best defender.

Todd Marshall has done a superb job leading Port Adelaide’s forward line in Charlie Dixon’s absence. (Image: @PAFC – Twitter)

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Who needs to lift?

Mitch Georgiades has had a quiet start to season 2022. The way Port Adelaide was entering inside their forward 50 would have been difficult for any forward, but the 20-year-old found it tough without Charlie Dixon’s presence.

Despite averaging career highs in disposals (12.1) and marks (5.8), the key forward now founds himself outside of the senior side with the return of Charlie Dixon. The young gun is definitely in the Power’s best 22 but might need to bide his time with Ken Hinkley sticking with the three tall (Dixon, Marshall, and Finlayson).

Mitch Georgiades. (Photo: Port Adelaide FC)

Best and Fairest contenders

There are a few players that have put their hand up to claim this year’s best and fairest. After a slow start and a heart scare, Ollie Wines is back to his best and is the likely front runner for the John Cahill Medal.

The hard-nosed midfielder is averaging 27 disposals, 11 contested disposals, four clearances, and kicked four goals.

Other contenders include Travis Boak, Sam Powell-Pepper would be certainly in the top three while Todd Marshall, Ryan Burton, and Dan Houston are all enjoying stellar campaigns and should feature highly in the count.

Expectations for the second half of the year

Port Adelaide had their eyes on another top-four finish at the start of the year, but due to their poor start to the season, they will look to just make the top eight and hope to do some damage from there.

The Power have a difficult fixture after the bye, with games against top-eight sides in the Swans, Dockers, Demons, and Cats, separated by games against teams fighting them for a finals spot (E.g Tigers, Suns, and Magpies).

Port Adelaide will need to claim a scalp or two against the top teams and handle the others to ensure they secure themselves a finals spot

Prediction

12th

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