For the second season in a row the Power were beaten in a home Preliminary Final, failing to make a Grand Final despite consecutive top two finishes in 2020 and 2021. Can Port Adelaide shake their perennial chokers tag and win their first premiership since 2004?
Jack Tobin will be previewing EVERY team in the lead up to the 2022 season, while the BYB AFL crew will be back this year to give their betting tips on every game. Be sure to head to the AFL Tips page for regular updates!
Port Adelaide Season Preview
In: Jeremy Finlayson (GWS), Josh Sinn (Pick 12), Hugh Jackson (Pick 55), Dante Visentini (Pick 56), Jase Burgoyne (Pick 60)
Out: Peter Ladhams (Sydney)
Jeremy Finalyson was a surprise acquisition during the trade period, but will be an important player for the Power given Charlie Dixon’s struggles late in seasons across the last two years. The Power traded up in the draft to secure the talented Josh Sinn who looks set to make and impact in 2022. Peter Ladhams departed for Sydney, and although he is a loss, it probably makes Port Adelaide’s ruck rotation a bit clearer given the amount of depth they’ve had in that position over the past few seasons.
Port stormed home in the last part of the home and away season in 2021, winning their last six games to finish second and secure home ground for the Qualifying and Preliminary Finals. However a horror showing in a 71 point loss to the Bulldogs in the Preliminary Final undid all the hard work Port Adelaide did to surge into second place on the ladder.
The Power’s lack of midfield depth was exposed in the Preliminary Final, with their unhealthy reliance on Ollie Wines and Travis Boak being shown up on the big stage. Wines had a career best year enroute to winning the Brownlow averaging 32 disposals, and Travis Boak continued to get better with age as he averaged 28 disposals per game. From there though Port’s midfield drops off significantly, with Karl Amon (23) and Dan Houston (20) their next best ball winners - although these players played a majority off half back. Port Adelaide need the likes of Zac Butters, Connor Rozee and Willem Drew to take their game to the next level if Port are to get over the hump in 2022.
Port Adelaide’s forward line was a major weapon for the Power in 2021. The Power were the sixth highest scoring team in the competition, and had a great spread of goal kickers. Port had five players with over 20 goals last season in Charlie Dixon (48), Mitch Georgiades (32), Orazio Fantasia (28), Connor Rozee (21) and Robbie Gray (20).
The Power’s front half brand of football has been the cornerstone of their dominant home and away seasons in the last two years. Port Adelaide’s ability to play a high pressure brand of football and retain the ball in their forward half of the ground, made them such a dangerous opposition. In 2021 Port Adelaide ranked 4th for tackles, 6th for inside 50’s and 6th for points scored.
Breakout Player: Zak Butters
After a red hot start to the 2021 season where he averaged 22 disposals per game through the first four games of the season, Zak Butters looked ready to take the AFL by storm. However an injury in round four limited Butters to just twelve games, where he still averaged 18 disposals playing mainly at half forward. Butters is set to play in the midfield, and his 28 disposal performance against the Suns in Port’s first practice match is a sign of things to come for the young gun. If Butters can stay healthy this season, the sky's the limit for him.
What Do The Power Need To Do In 2022?
Port Adelaide will go as far as their midfield will take them this season. We know Wines and Boak are amongst the best in the AFL, but it’s up to Butters, Rozee, Drew and Amon to make sure their midfield is capable of standing up against the best in September. The Power have an elite forward line and an outstanding defence, so if their midfield can match it with the other top sides, then they will have a big chance to capture the club’s second AFL premiership.
The Power have had top two finishes in the last two seasons and it’s hard to see them dropping off far from that. Outside of Wines and Boak their midfield is largely unproven, however their dominance at the Adelaide Oval means they’re basically a lock for the top four. Port Adelaide have a 13-4 in home and away games at the Adelaide Oval since the beginning of 2020. There’s a strong continuity from the last two seasons, and the big game experience they’ve had should hold them in good stead. It’ll be a third consecutive top four finish for Ken Hinkley’s side.