Thrilling matches, tense finals, huge marks and a series of unforgettable storylines made the 2019 AFL season one to remember.
The evenness of the AFL’s top bracket of sides was shown by the fact just one win separated Geelong, who finished first, and the fifth-placed West Coast, while Greater Western Sydney went from sixth to reach the grand final after a stunning September run.
It was Richmond who would ultimately win the premiership, their second in three years, Damien Hardwick’s side finishing the season full of momentum.
A new campaign brings fresh hope for all 18 clubs, though, and our 2019 season reviews take a look at what went right, what went wrong, each side’s best players and how every club can improve.
The next team in the spotlight is Port Adelaide.
- Ladder position: 10th
- Win-loss ratio: 11-11
- Percentage: 105.4
Port Adelaide Football Club AFL 2019 Season Performance Review
A campaign that started out with successive wins and four triumphs from the first six matches of the season fizzled out in disappointing fashion for the Power. They won just three matches through May and June and were far too inconsistent, with coach Ken Hinkley left frustrated by his side’s inability to string together a run of form. Most concerning was Port Adelaide’s form at its Adelaide Oval base, the Power losing five games at the venue in 2019. Three of those defeats came in the space of just five weeks, too, as the Power missed the finals for the fourth time in the last five years.
A seven-goal win at reigning premiers West Coast in Perth in Round 5 had Power fans full of hope that they were on the right track. A nine-goal-to-two first half set up the outstanding victory, Port Adelaide leading by 49 points at the main break. West Coast tried to work their way back into the match but the Power were simply too good and too committed, midfield bulls Ollie Wines and Tom Rockliff leading the way in what was a tremendous victory, but a false dawn. A 57-point win over Adelaide in Round 16 was memorable for Power fans, too.
Port had plenty to play for in a Round 22 clash against North Melbourne at Docklands, with a finals berth still a very realistic chance. They put in a terrible performance, though, thrashed by 86 points in an utterly one-sided contest. The alarming bells were ringing at the first break, when the Kangaroos led by 32 points, and it was soon a 58-point margin at the main break. Ben Brown finished with 10 goals for the match, outscoring the insipid Power on his own, while North had a staggering 207 more disposals than their opponents. Travis Boak tried hard for the Power, as he did all season, but this was an awful night that Power fans won’t forget quickly.
The best and fairest
Boak won the John Cahill Medal for the second time, taking the lead in Round 2 and never looking back. The tough midfielder polled in Port Adelaide’s best and fairest in 20 of 22 matches, finishing ahead of Darcy Byrne-Jones. Dan Houston was just one vote behind in third, while first-year player Connor Rozee finished fourth – an encouraging sign for the future.
Boak is a proven vote-getter and the 31-year-old enjoyed plenty of support from the umpires in 2019, finishing with 16 votes – just reward for another strong year. Robbie Gray’s ability to go forward and hit the scoreboard saw him win 10 votes, the only other Power player in double figures.
Boak was the only Power player named in the 40-man squad. He averaged 30.3 disposals per match in 2019 and just shy of five tackles per game. Boak did not make the final 22.
The goal kickers
Rozee is a star of the future but it said it all that a 19-year-old finished as the club’s leading goal kicker. Rose booted 29.22 in his first year in the AFL system and is sure to be a fan favourite for years to come. Gray kicked 24 goals but the Power’s lack of a key forward to impact games cost them dearly.
The reason to be hopeful
Missing the finals so often in recent years has given the Power the chance to attack the draft. Rozee, Zak Butters and Xavier Duursma were all top-20 picks in 2018 and the trio all quickly impressed. Miles Bergman, Mitch Georgiades, Dylan Williams and Jackson Mead were taken in the top 25 of the 2019 draft and the Power will hope that a group of seven can help fuel a charge up the ladder.