North Melbourne legend David King has already put a line through the Power’s flag aspirations, declaring “their premiership campaign is over”.
Port Adelaide was thrashed on their own home deck by a young Hawthorn outfit by 64 points on Saturday night in the heaviest defeat of Round 2.
It meant Port Adelaide fell to 0-2 to start the season to currently sit at the bottom of the ladder with a horror percentage of 62.5.
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Several injury setbacks to the likes of Aliir Aliir (ankle), Robbie Gray (knee) and Trent McKeznie (ankle) haven’t helped their cause, while Charlie Dixon (ankle) and Orazio Fantasia (knee) are yet to play this season.
Speaking on Fox Footy’s First Crack, King didn’t hold back in his evaluation of the Power, even calling out two of the club’s brightest young stars in Connor Rozee and Xavier Duursma.
“They look like a group to me that have lost their asset, I know Aliir Aliir didn’t play on the weekend. But I look at the mechanics, one out, one in, it should just be as simple as that,” he said.
“Then you start to drill in a little bit deeper. They have some great accumulators in the midfield, but do they really impact? Do they really have the (Christian) Petracca types, the strikers?
“They’ve got to make a decision on Todd Marshall, is he the answer or not going forward? He ended the game down back.
“I look at Connor Rozzee, he’s gone from a headache to a migraine this guy. Is he a contested possession player? Is he a fruit as a top 10 draft pick, or is this what he is? If he is, I think they’re in a bit of trouble.
“Duursma is another one, I see him do some nice things from time to time, but if he was at another club and not hiding behind those elevated picks of Butters and Rozee, I think he’d be under serious scrutiny.”
Power coach Ken Hinkley said post-match it didn’t resemble how his team would normally break down, lamenting poor play at either end of the ground.
“In the past we’ve been able to get a pretty clear, consistent indicator with what happens when we get beaten and play poorly. Tonight was a different look,” he told reporters.
“One thing was really clear, we clearly failed going forward to convert our opportunities. On the flip side of that, they were able to turn all their opportunities in score.
“So if you look at the really clearly, we broke down badly in offence and defence, that’s a different breaking point for us. We’ve usually been really strong in defence and our offence has been building.
“Tonight was really clear that our front half stuff, being able to hit a scoreboard, execute with some confidence at all, was just not there. The return, I think eight or nine goals from out forward 50, Hawthorn turned over.
“That just doesn’t happen to us, but I have to be really honest, that did happen tonight, so I need to spend time looking at it.”
It comes off the back of consecutive preliminary finals appearances from the Power as they were again touted as one of the big premiership threats.
But King said there was currently a big margin between their form and the top teams’.
“He knows that there’s a lot fix, that’s my worry,” King said in response to Hinkley’s comments.
“We’re talking about comparisons to three to six other teams that are going to be at the pointy end of the ladder. 0-2 is a rough start, their turnover game is a mess, their forward half game is a mess, Hawthorn walked the ball down the ground, I haven’t seen a ball movement profile like that for years — I think they kicked nine goals out of their defensive half.”
In examples of when Port broke down defensively, King pointed to vision of Connor Macdonald running past several Power players during one play.
“This a standard play, so you’re organised here. And he sprints past about six of them. Where’s their defence gone? There’s the ruckman trying to het back, the rest all ad hoc, they’re all at sea,” he said.
King highlighted another instance where the Hawks kicked a long ball down the line from their back pocket that turned into an easy two-on-one contest for the Hawks to run into an open goal.
“You can’t start from much further back than that, it’s not a shallow turnover, it’s not a corridor turnover, this is basic 1.01 grid defence. I don’t know where Houston is going, I don’t know where Darcy Byrne-Jones is going or what the instruction is. Todd Marshall comes back with Gunston, then he doesn’t really know what he’s doing,” King said.
“Then all of a sudden you’ve got a two-on-one goal side in a 60 metre paddock and are basically laughing as they stroll into open goal.”
He ultimately believes Dixon being out of the side has exposed an unhealthy reliance on the star big man.
“I’m not concerned, I just think they’ve blown their opportunity. If it’s Charlie Dixon or bust in the forward line, that’s too much responsibility for one guy,” King said.
“I think they’ve missed their opportunity with home finals, home prelims. And unfortunately I think that’s the end of the road.”