Power to be re-stored against Hawks
By Jack Kovacic

Power to be re-stored against Hawks

It was an all too familiar story for Port fans last Friday night, watching their team get thrashed by ten goals against Geelong. 

It looked like the Power had put the inconsistencies of the past few seasons behind them after a trio of impressive wins over the Demons, Bulldogs, and reigning premier Richmond. That didn’t prove to be the case with Port’s plan of Dixon or bust coming back to haunt them as Geelong’s defence swarmed the big key forward, keeping him goalless and highlighting Port’s predictability.

At the other end of the field it was a completely different story, with Tom Hawkins running riot on his way to six goals. He spent most of the night opposed to Tom Clurey and plenty of Port fans would have been scratching their heads wondering why Ken Hinkley chose to keep that match-up for majority of the night, rather than giving the task to captain Tom Jonas.

Port’s game style is built around two key facets; dominating the contest and locking the ball in its forward half to allow repeat inside 50’s and more scoring opportunities. On Friday night Port were comprehensively beaten in the contest (-23 in contested possessions) and had 10 less inside 50’s, failing to lock the ball in its forward half.

Geelong have to be given a lot of credit for this, not just were Port outplayed on the field but Hinkley was outcoached by Chris Scott. Geelong’s normal kick/mark, slow build up style was thrown out the window as it looked to play on at every occasion, getting on the front foot and taking the game right up to the ladder leader. Port simply just did not adjust and as he has been in previous years, Hinkley drew criticism for not having a plan B.

Port will be eager to bounce back from this disappointing loss when it hosts Hawthorn on Saturday afternoon. This match will kick start a run of three fixtures in which Port play three of the bottom four teams on the ladder. If Port win all three, it will go very close to looking up top spot on the ladder with matches against Essendon on Collingwood the only remaining on the fixture.

It will be a nervous period for Port fans who will know their team has had trouble in the past winning games they are expected to win. Many of these worries looked to be gone before the Geelong match but the doubts will be creeping back after such a poor performance.

Hawthorn are coming into this match having lost their last two matches to the two Western Australia teams. Although their most recent match against West Coast was lost by a bigger margin, it was the better performance of the two. Tom Mitchell (34 disposals), Jaegar O’Meara (27) and James Worpel (27 and a goal) all got plenty of footy, but the Hawks were alarmingly -31 in contested possessions.

Liam Shiels (25 disposals, seven clearances, six inside 50’s and a goal) was one of the Hawks best while Will Day (16 disposals and eight marks) continues to impress in his first season.

The Hawks defence wasn’t strong enough in the air to handle the tall Eagles forward line, and James Sicily suffered a season ending knee injury to make things even worse. The likes of Charlie Dixon, Mitch Georgiades and Peter Ladhams could cause big problems for the Hawks backline this week.

Port were so disappointing against the Cats and you’d expect them to bounce back this week, especially given the Hawks struggles in 2020 and having lost one of their best players in Sicily.

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