A wet weather slog-fest wouldn’t have pleased the purists, but the Suns were up for the fight for most of the contest, until Port Adelaide’s hardened bodies took control and they cruised to a comfortable victory. Here are the big questions coming from the Power’s 38-point win.

 

Will the real Port Adelaide please stand up?

It must be so frustrating being a Power supporter. Capable of beating the Eagles in Perth, yet took until the last quarter to put the young Suns away. When they are allowed the space, they look like world beaters, but too often this year, teams have been able to shut them down with tough, hard pressure. Having started the Demons decline, the Power have been wildly inconsistent, given they’ve had commanding wins, but their losses defy explanation. It can be argued that Port are missing a lot of experience all across the park, but in truth they have always had youth on their side and can’t afford too much more inconsistent outputs if they want this season to be something special.

 

Can Stuart Dew build a monster?

After the first chapter of Gold Coast’s history failed so baldy, Stuart Dew was given the almost impossible task – rebuild the Gold Coast Suns from the ground up. This season alone should warm the hearts of the Suns contingent, who can finally see that they are heading in the right direction. Lukosius and King are a forward duo you can build around. Their midfield group are already taking the competition by storm, and in Sam Collins, Charlie Ballard and Will Powell (who Cam Read notes is a dead ringer for “Egg Boy”), have a defence that can, in time, restrict even the most attacking teams. They are still so young all over the ground, but if they can keep all of their chess pieces together, Dew will have the keys to a Lamborghini that can compete with Leon Cameron’s Ferrari.

 

What about Port Adelaide’s ruck division?

When the Power enticed Scott Lycett to return home after his premiership triumph with West Coast, the general consensus was that Port had an arsenal of big men capable of dominating the competition’s best ruckmen. In reality, both Lycett and the incumbent Paddy Ryder have regularly been beaten, and have made life harder for the Power’s midfielders. Double-teaming Max Gawn was a masterstroke, but the last time Lycett and Ryder had a victory was the demolition of Nathan Vardy in Round Five.

Goldstein, Grundy, O’Brien and Witts have all beaten them significantly, and if Port’s twin towers can’t turn things around, the Power’s hopes of making a statement on season 2019 will fade quickly. 

 

Which kids make Port Adelaide’s best 22?

It was noted that the Power are currently missing eight first choice players from today’s team. Captains Wines and Jonas, vice-captain Hartlett, Dixon, Robbie Gray, Ebert, and Jack Watts would all consider themselves entrenched in the starting 18, but for some, the youth are fighting hard to keep the older guard out. Connor Rozee is a rising star candidate, Xavier Duursma has enthusiasm and excitement written all over him, Billy Frampton continued his strong SANFL form with a commanding forward line performance in the wet, and Joe Atley and Jarrod Lienert showed encouraging signs from half-back. Once Port Adelaide’s top tier talent returns to the side, expect the young brigade to make way, with the exception being Rozee, and maybe Duursma. 

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Grab a Mongrel Bumper Sticker – click the image, grab a sticker and help spread the Mongrel word. We’d really appreciate it.

 

Who was best and worst on ground for both teams?

 

Port Adelaide:

Best – Travis Boak

Another day, another inspirational performance from the former captain. 36 touches, including 22 contested as Boak found himself under every pack. He was everywhere in the third quarter when the game was up for grabs, and had another superior performance in a career best season. Asked to captain the side in Wines and Jonas’s absence, Boak is still thriving with the youth around him, and once the cavalry returns, Boak will be key to Port Adelaide’s fortunes going forward this season.

Stiff: Sam Gray

He is the “other” Gray no longer. Lively up forward, Gray provided Dew with all sorts of issues, as at least three opponents were rotated through him. Only kicked one goal, but put Gold Coast’s rebounders under enormous pressure, recording a team high eight tackles. Equally effective as a marking forward, Gray has cemented his place in the Power forward half, and his experience will be vital going forward, especially if Hinkley continues playing the kids.

Worst – Steven Motlop

When you’re given a reprieve, it is important that you make the most of the opportunity by playing team first football. On too many occasions, Motlop was too selfish on the rare occasions he had ball in hand. As a small forward Motlop should have thrived in today’s watery conditions but he ultimately didn’t have an impact on the contest. Only contributed one goal to the score board and even that came after receiving a free kick that shouldn’t have gone his way.

Lucky: Scott Lycett

The problem with Lycett is he has so much talent, and has all the tools to dominate, but too often he lets his aggression get the best of him, and looks for the free kick on occasions where he needs to focus on his direct opponent. As mentioned above, his tandem with Paddy Ryder should have dominated, but Lycett particular was pedestrian for most of the day, with his frustration getting the better of him, as he gave away five silly free kicks. Charlie Dixon is on the comeback trail, and Lycett could be the player that makes way.

 

Gold Coast:

Best – Brayden Fiorini

It was another stellar performance from the new star of the Suns onslaught of young midfielders, with Fiorini collecting 38 touches (29 kicks, 9 handballs) in a transcendent effort. A running machine that drifted forward to give the Suns another option, Fiorini fought with everything he had to get the Suns their first win on Adelaide soil. Fiorini was on the periphery of the Mongrel’s All Australian team, and he is sure to find his way into the 22 if he continues his career making season.

Stiff: Darcy MacPherson

Despite giving away four free kicks, MacPherson will be forgiven for his sins because of his enthusiasm for the contest. When the Suns were right in Port Adelaide’s grill in the first half, it was MacPherson showing the most fight, with his toughness rattling the Power’s cage. 12 bruising tackles further exemplified that MacPherson is the Suns’ future in the midfield, along with Fiorini.

Worst – Ben King

The 18-year-old was done no favours from Stuart Dew by having King make his debut in the pouring rain of Adelaide. Largely ineffective for most of the day, King showed glimpses that he will eventually turn into a strong key forward, but only five disposals (1 kick, 4 handballs) and no marks were characteristic of a young man who needs many more NEAFL matches under his belt before he will be the player the Suns drafted him to be.

Lucky: Jordan Murdoch

Last week I mentioned that Murdoch simply cannot afford to keep putting in underwhelming performances if he wants to maintain his place in the team. Nine disposals from a defence that was constantly under siege will do Murdoch no favours. One of the vast number of players given a second chance by the Suns after a delisting, Murdoch should consider himself lucky Gold Coast’s NEAFL side had a bye this week and no one put up a case to take his spot.

 Look! Mongrel Punt Stubby Holders. Buy one and be cooler than all your friends! It also helps the site out.

Look! Mongrel Punt Stubby Holders. Buy one and be cooler than all your friends! It also helps the site out.

 

Stray thoughts:

–          It is staggering that teams always seem either unwilling or incapable of adapting to wet weather. Today it was the Power, especially in the first half, who went for kicks that weren’t efficient in the wet, and given their experience, it is something that they really should be better at.

–          Why did Ken Hinkley play Sam Powell-Pepper so far off the stoppages until the last quarter? He has always been considered a midfield bull who thrives in the contest, Powell-Pepper has never been noted for his elite disposal efficiency, so playing him as a sweeper played into Gold Coast’s hands.

–          Jarrod Witts has cemented himself as a top 3 ruckman in the competition. Taking on two bona fide ruckmen is never an easy task, but the Suns co-captain destroyed Lycett and Ryder to put himself right into All Australian calculation.

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