The Port Adelaide Type

There is no question that Port members have a type.

Think Tim Ginever, Darryl Poole, Michael Wilson, Josh Carr, Russell Ebert, Geoff Motley.

All very different players, with differing skills levels and physical capabilities, but they all have 3 things in common.

  1. They are brave to a fault. When it was their turn, they “put their head in the hole” as Tim Ginever loves to say.
  2. They are selfless. Always willing to do the team thing, no matter what it meant for their own performance, health or paycheck.
  3. They performed when it mattered. No one can be up every game, though some of those names got close, but the best ones could sniff the moment. They knew when they were needed most and they were inspired by it. They revelled in the opportunity to add to that enviable club tradition of winning the moments and thus winning the flags.

In our AFL history we look to that 2004 premiership team to find these players. Josh Carr and Damien Hardwick not taking a backward step, Michael Wilson winning his position with 2 busted shoulders, Warren Tredrea playing a selfless role in attack, Darryl Wakelin going toe to toe with Alistair Lynch and of course Byron Pickett showing that eye catching blend of ferocity and flair. These players (and many more on that day) are the ones that Port Adelaide members remember.

As Ange Postecoglou said recently of Tottenham “Walk through the halls, mate, there’s no bragging rights there. There’s none”. Port Adelaide members may love to win a showdown, or go on a 13 game winning streak, but at the end of the day these “bragging rights” moments aren’t what they celebrate in “the halls” of their shiny new museum at Alberton. They celebrate premierships, and the players that stood up in the big moments to get them there.

On paper the game on the weekend should have been an easy win against a rebuilding Hawthorn at home. The fact that Port got themselves 40 points down before responding, and the game style that got them there, showed that there is still a lot of improvement required if this team wants to go all the way in 2024. The same goes for the 2nd half against Geelong ,in Geelong, the week before.

And whilst those 2 gritty wins weren’t perfect, the fact remains that they got themselves over the line. They found a way to win against adversity, just like those old Port teams we remember and love. And just like those old teams they even did it after being written off, with the likes of former Hawk Campbell Brown declaring Hawthorn “home” when they were 11 points up with just 45 seconds to go.

So amongst that nagging feeling of Port fans that like early 2018, or 2021, or 2023, some of these less than convincing wins against lesser teams might be glossing over the cracks of a team that once again gets exposed in the finals, there are glimpses of a grittier nature and in particular some grittier players that will stand up in those big moments.

Several players stood out on that front on Sunday afternoon. Of course there was the much maligned pair of Darcy Byrne-Jones and Jed McEntee who both had a moment with just seconds left on the clock to seal the game. But across 4 quarters it was the 20 year old Jason Horne-Francis who epitomised those Port Adelaide values of bravery, selflessness and performing when it matters with 27 touches, 2 goals, 6 clearances and plenty of brave, selfless play. He was ably supported by Dan Houston and Jase Burgoyne who similarly stood up in the big moments and helped to keep Port in the game. And whilst Zak Butters had just 3 touches in the 3rd quarter, the stand in captain lifted for the moment in the last gaining a massive 17 possessions, 7 contested, to go with 5 clearances, including the all important final one that set up the win. These are the kind of performances Port Adelaide members love. This earns them some “bragging rights”… for a while.

Other game plan, personnel and performance issues aside, the challenge now is for these same players (and more) to show this (and more) when it really matters. In finals and in particular in grand finals. That is when they will have the opportunity to turn “bragging rights” into picture on the wall moments. That is when they have an opportunity to become part of this club’s enviable tradition.






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