The release of the first 15 weeks of the 2023 AFL Fixture was always going to cause a bit of a stir for some supporters. Apart from the AFL’s efforts to make Carlton a must-watch television event each week, there was another little dynamic that caught my eye, and that was the run Port Adelaide face through the first five weeks of the season.
Look, nobody expected Port to fall away the way they did in 2022. When I say “nobody”, of course, I mean me, but this time last year, I am sure Power fans were looking forward to another successful season and a deep finals run to continue their journey toward a premiership.
And what they got was a 0-5 start with the team battling to remain anywhere near the hunt all season, let alone in it. Just when something seemed to go right, it would be matched with something going awry. It was very much a season consisting of one step forwards and two steps back.
The result saw Port limp into 11th place, with a 10-12 record and a September filled with quiet lamentations as they watched other teams contend for the flag.
Coming into the 2023 season, it would have been a focus of the entire organisation not to repeat the disastrous start to the season that all but ended their campaign before it started 12 months earlier.
And then the fixture dropped.
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