Are the power flags contenders or midfielders? Who is in the top 23, how many early wins, who is the X factor. All your Port Adelaide questions answered.
Can power bounce back in 2023? They missed the final after a shocking start to the season and played a comeback for the remainder of the season and despite some encouraging performances, failed to close the gap. But after one hell of a trading spell from The Power, they’ve added some serious talent to Alberton, Port’s rising roster to show that 2022 was just a blip.
Coaches: Ken Hinkley
Captain: Tom Jonas
What happened in 2022?
The Power’s 2021 campaign ended in shocking horror with an interim final against the Western Bulldogs, and their start to 2022 wasn’t much better.
They lost their first five games in a row, including a caning of Hawthorn in Round 2 and after the siren goal against bitter rivals Adelaide in the Round 3 showdown to put some serious pressure on Hinkley.
The Power went on a four-game win streak to breathe some life back into their season, but they just couldn’t beat the top teams in the competition and finished 11th.
Hinkley’s side can look back on injuries for the poor year as Orazio Fantasia didn’t play a single minute of AFL action as he was dealing with multiple fitness issues, while Scott Lycett missed most of the season and Charlie Dixon, Aliir Aliir, Robbie Gray, Tom Clurey, Trent McKenzie and Xavier Duursma all struggled with injuries themselves.
But after declaring “we’re still here” before the start of the season, Hinkley will be looking for a rebound in 2023.
Where will they end in 2023?
The Power grew big in the trading period, snapping up last year’s No. 1 draft pick Jason Horne-Francis from North Melbourne and small forward Junior Rioli, who won the West Coast Premier League.
They traded their first and second picks from this year’s and next drafts in the huge deal with the Roos, Eagles and GWS, but they have a roster young and talented enough to pick it up.
While Gray has retired, a fit Fantasia and Rioli are addressing the weakness of the Force in 2023 – their small forward brigade and Horne-Francis will complement an exciting midfield.
The Power may still not have a great defender, but they were able to improve their defense after starting 0-5.
The Power should return to the top eight in 2023 given the talent on their roster and the emergence of Connor Rozee and Todd Marshall in 2022.
They might be a bit short of a top 4 place, but a realistic contender for the top 6.
Biggest improvement in 2022
Possibly the greatest moment of the Power’s 2022 campaign came at halftime during the Round 5 game against Carlton.
With the MCG 49 points behind, the power coaches decided to throw Rozee – who had struggled as a small forward in the opening games of the season – into midfield.
The Power almost won the game, falling only three points.
But it was the start of one hell of a year for Rozee.
Rozee burst onto the scene in his debut year in 2019 to become Port Adelaide’s leading scorer.
But injuries over the following two years meant there were still some unanswered questions about the young gun.
He answered them in spectacular fashion by moving to midfield.
He added speed and class to a power midfield that needed it and was rewarded with an All-Australian jacket.
The Power will be looking for Rozee to build on and become one of the best in the game in 2023.
An unused submarine appearance in a strike against North Melbourne in Hobart was the closest Fantasia 2022 came to AFL action.
Two off-season knee surgeries, a soft-tissue injury just seconds into his first game of the year for the Magpies, and another in the final moments of a training session conspired to keep Fantasia off the park for the Power in 2022.
Of course, without the goal sneak in their forward line, the Force struggled.
If Fantasia can be fit and score 30+ goals then it will go a long way before power rebounds.
With a year remaining on his contract, Hinkley enters 2023 as one of the competition’s most pressured coaches.
Especially after Power chairman David Koch said the club figures had to “turn around or watch out,” which preceded Koch’s public display of support for Hinkley.
But Hinkley will be under great scrutiny in 2023 as he sits in the unenviable position of Port Adelaide’s longest-serving non-Premiership manager.
A good start will do Hinkley’s thing to stay in Alberton and he said he wants to stay in Port having been linked with GWS and North Melbourne in 2022, very well.
Another poor start would again see fans demanding change.
Hinkley was in a similar position three years ago, entering the 2020 season after consecutive years without a finals under the pump.
But he brought the power to within a kick of a grand final, then backed it up with another tentative final the following year.
With a win rate of 58.74 percent, Hinkley is ahead of Richmond’s Damien Hardwick, West Coast’s Adam Simpson and the Bulldogs’ Luke Beveridge.
But they all have what Hinkley craves, Premier League success.
It’s going to be hard to gauge what an existence will be for Hinkley in 2023.
Final? Yes. A prelude? Perhaps. A grand finale? Maybe too.
Expect this to be discussed extensively before and during the season.
Who is in the final year of contract?
Miles Bergman, Riley Bonner, Jase Burgoyne, Charlie Dixon, Orazio Fantasia, Kane Farrell, Mitch Georgiades, Sam Hayes, Hugh Jackson, Tom Jonas, Trent Dumont, Travis Boak, Ollie Lord, Scott Lycett, Trent McKenzie, Sam Powell-Pepper, Brynn Teakle, Dylan Williams
Outs from 2022
Karl Amon (Free Agent – Hawthorn), Robbie Gray (Retired), Steven Motlop (Retired), Sam Mayes (Delisted), Marty Frederick (Delisted), Sam Skinner (Delisted), Taj Schofield (Delisted)
Ins for 2023
Jason Horne-Francis (traded – North Melbourne), Junior Rioli (traded – West Coast), Francis Evans (listed free agent – Geelong), Tom McCallum (#36 pick), Tom Scully (#53 pick), Kyle Marshall (Selection #59), Nathan Barkla (Next Generation Academy)
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Originally published as Where is your AFL club: Hinkley has pulled out for the last year of his contract but Port has to play the finals
https://www.codesports.com.au/afl/where-does-your-afl-club-sit-hinkley-backed-in-for-final-year-of-contract-but-port-must-play-finals/news-story/0b03e3830edf3f9dec034bc1bf9a94ff?nk=98f2e72a6a99c2696353bc5af2b9cd50-1672862108 2022 AFL season recap: Port Adelaide deals, 2023 rankings prediction, best 22nd