AFL 3 years ago

The sweet and sour of the AFL Drafts: Port Adelaide Power

  • The sweet and sour of the AFL Drafts: Port Adelaide Power
  • The sweet and sour of the AFL Drafts: Port Adelaide Power
  • The sweet and sour of the AFL Drafts: Port Adelaide Power

Did you know that Travis Boak, Justin Westhoff and Robbie Gray were all drafted in the same year by Port Adelaide? Did you know that Joel Patfull could still be wearing Port Adelaideís colours if the Power had kept him on their rookie list? Did you know Port Adelaide have never had the number #1 draft pick in the AFL Draft?

Well, read on then.

If youíve read my previous scouting reports on the some of the other AFL clubs, youíll know the draft selections below will be labelled either sweet or sour depending on how that playerís career turned out.

This could include playing 250 games, asking for a trade, captaining the side or being delisted after two games.

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They didnít stop stop stop, till they were top top top in 2004, but since then, itís been a tough ride for Port. But how has their drafting fared since 2001? Letís find out.

Top five sweets

1 Ė 2006

Three words - Boak. Westhoff. Gray. NEXT. Ok, sorry that was four words.

In 2006, the Port Adelaide power hit the draft jackpot. Letís start with the captain.

With pick five in 2006, the Power selected Travis Boak. Boak has been a star ever since he step foot into the AFL. 165 games in, and he is the Port Adelaide captain, a 2-time All-Australian, a best and fairest winner and one of the premier midfielders in the game. He leads by example, he demands everything and anything from himself and his teammates, and he is an incredibly skilled, composed player. He has definitely delivered for a pick five in the draft.

Next in line is Robbie Gray, who Port selected with the 55th pick in 2006. Robbie Gray has been a warrior for Port Adelaide. Season ending injuries and inconsistencies in form have seen him bounce in and out of the Power line up and only manage 124 games in almost ten seasons. But the last few years has been the Robbie Gray show up in South Australia. A small forward for most of his career has seen him notch 169 goals; but Grayís creativity, body strength and skill have seen him push up into the midfielder and play a crucial role in Portís revival. In 2014, not only was he a favourite for the Brownlow, but also he was named All-Australian, the AFLCAís Player of the Year and elevated himself to the elite bracket. He plays smart, heís a team player and is a fan favourite.

Lastly, the Hoff. Justin Westhoff was drafted with the 71st pick in 2006. Like Gray, Westhoff is another Port player who journeyed through the early part of his career, and wasnít able to display his full potential to his team. But alas, 169 games and 212 goals later, Justin Westhoff could very well be the AFLís most versatile player and Portís most valuable weapon.  Consistency has always been the knock on Westhoff until the past few seasons where he has really shone as Portís swingman. Heís a great mark, a quality shot for goal and is another in Portís forward line who puts the team before the player. Youíll see him up forward, down back and possibly on the wing all in one quarter. 

A stunning collection of players for Port who also drafted Paul Stewart, Nathan Krakouer, and added David Rodan to their list in 2006.

2 Ė Chad Wingard

77 games into his AFL career and Chad Wingard could very well be the best drafting decision Port Adelaide has ever made once he calls time on his career.

Simply put Ė he will be a 300+ game player for the Power if the injury spell doesnít hit him severely.

Port took him with pick 6 in 2011, and if GWS were selecting again, I guarantee Chad Wingard would feature in their top two selections (they had the first five remember).

A South Australian product, born and raised, Wingardís career with Port could not have started out better. Heís already an All-Australian and B&F winner, heís kicked over 100 goals, he took Mark of the Year last season and is one of the AFLís most exciting and creative small forward/midfielder players.

Think of the sweetest lolly youíve ever had Port fans. Was it named Chad Wingard by any chance?

3 Ė 2008

If you thought the three names Port drafted in 2006 were sweet, hereís what they did two years later.

Hamish Harlett with pick 4. Jackson Trengrove with pick 22. And Matthew Broadbent with pick 38. When all are healthy, all three are sure things in Portís line up each week.

Theyíve all now played over 100 games for the Power, and are just hitting the best parts of their careers. Hartlett is hard at the contest, gives a tough edge to Portís midfield, has a deadly long kick and knows where the goals are. Broadbent plays the sweeping role across half back as well as anyone in the competition when Port is on top of their game. And Trengrove is one of the two defensive, reliable pillars that orchestrate Portís back six. There is obvious expectation for Hartlett to become one of the best in the business, considering his high draft price tag. 

4 Ė Ollie Wines

The only person who will be competing with Chad Wingard for the next 10 years, to be named the highly sought after title of, Ďthe sweetest draft pick in Port Adelaideís historyí, will be Ollie Wines.

There is no doubt in my mind, that if the 2012 draft was re held tomorrow, that Ollie Wines would be the first pick in the draft. How did he slip to 7? How? Oh thatís right, Melbourne passed on him, despite him being best friends with Jack Viney. Port Adelaide fans, Iíd suggest to keep counting your blessings. You got a sweet one in 2012.

55 games in and Wines could very well be one of Port Adelaideís most important players. Heís tough, heís powerful, he wins his own ball and he isnít afraid of the big stage.

Any club would want Ollie Wines in their midfield group. Donít be surprised if by the time he hits 100 games, he already has B&F medal, an All-Australian selection and a collection of Brownlow votes on his resume.  

5 Ė Alipate Carlile

Itís hard to believe that a player with a unique name like Alipate, goes often unspoken of when discussing the best fullbacks in the game.

But donít worry Port fans, Iíll talk highly of him. Drafted back in 2005, Carlile joined Port via the 44th selection in the draft. 10 years on and 162 games for the Power, and Alipate has been Portís most reliable defender since the retirement of Darryl Wakelin.

He is the stalwart of Portís back half and often getís the toughest defensive assignment each week. With Trengrove, he forms a trustworthy and hard to beat brigade in defence.

An up and down career in terms of injuries and fitness, but Alipate has very rarely put a wrong foot forward on the pitch for the Power. Not the most expensive lolly in the shop, but one of the sweetest.

Worthy Mentions

Brett Ebert (F/S #42, 2002 ND), Troy Chaplin (#15, 2003 ND), Michael Pettigrew (#46, 2003 ND), Jacob Surjan (#10, 2003 PD), Danyle Pearce (#16, 2004 RD), Matt Thomas (#8, 2005 PD), Tom Logan (#52, 2005 RD), Paul Stewart (#23, 2006 ND), Matthew Lobbe (#16, 2007 ND), Jasper Pittard (#16, 2009 ND), Aaron Young (#36, 2010 ND), Cam OíShea (#52, 2010 ND), Tom Jonas (#16, 2010 RD), Kane Mitchell (#5, 2012 RD) and Jarman Impey (#21, 2013 ND).

Top five sours

1 - Adam Thomson

When youíre a SANFL product, a talented junior and the 11th pick in the 2004 AFL Draft, only playing 32 career games effectively makes you a bust, or in this case, a sour draft pick.

28 games for Port, before being traded to Richmond and only playing 4 games for them, left Adam Thomson with a fairly disappointing AFL career.

2 - Ben Jacobs

Ben Jacobs is not a name that Port Adelaide fans like to hear. Iíll set the scene. He was a highly touted draft prospect after showing a lot of promise as an U-18 player. Port used their first draft selection (#16) to draft Jacobs in 2010. They gave him the treasured number 16 guernsey, which the retired club legend, Warren Treadrea, wore for most of his decorated career. 

26 games and one season into his Power career, Jacobs requested a trade to North Melbourne. It was rebuffed but Jacobs entered the 2012 AFL Draft anyway and was drafted by North. Just to really add salt to the wound, Iíll casually mention that Luke Parker, Isaac Smith and Cam Guthrie were other midfielders who were drafted after him.

3 - Barry Brooks

Barry Brooks. Heard of him? Unless youíre a Port Adelaide fan, itís unlikely. However, if the name does sound familiar, itís probably because Barry Brooks was drafted by Port in 2001, with the 15th pick in the draft. Now as we all know, 2001 was the infamous super draft, which saw the likes of Hodge, Judd, Ball, Swan and Mitchell join the AFL.

But Brooks failed to leave such an impression on the game. He never debuted for Port and was traded to the Saints one year after being drafted. He managed only 8 career games. Thatís on the warhead scale of sourness.

4 - Stephen Gilham

Youíre probably more familiar with Stephen Gilham as a Hawk. 98 games and a premiership player in 2008 with the brown and gold. But did you know he was originally drafted by Port Adelaide in 2002 with the 16th pick. In three years with the Power, he managed only one game. It wasnít the deepest draft, but one game for a high draft pick isnít the sweetest of turnouts.

5 Ė Steven Salopek

For the average AFL player, 121 games and playing in a Grand Final (despite losing to Geelong in 2007) wouldn't be a bad career. But for a former pick 6 in the 2002 AFL Draft, it doesn't get a pass mark with me.

(despite losing to Geelong in 2007)

Itís a harsh call, mainly because Salopekís nine-year career with the Power was hampered by injuries.

But for the Port fans who may be outraged by this sour inclusion, would you be satisfied if Chad Wingard (pick 6 as well), finished his career with 100 and something games and retired, only leaving a minimal impact on the club?

(Not) Worthy Mentions

Joel Patfull (#14, 2002 RD), Brad Symes (#30, 2003 ND), Luke Peel (#34, 2003 ND), Robert Foster-Knight (#39, 2003 ND), Ryan Willites (#19, 2004 ND), James Ezard (#34, 2004 ND), Fabian Deluca (#35, 2004 ND), Nick Lower (#30, 2005 ND), Jonathon Giles (#70, 2005 ND), Marlon Motlop (#28, 2007 ND), Matthew Westhoff (#33, 2007 ND), Mitch Farmer (#49, 2007 ND), Mitchell Banner (#42, 2008 ND), Jarrad Redden (#54, 2008 ND) and Ben Newton (#35, 2010 ND).

Both sweet and sour Ė John Butcher and Andrew Moore

Itís the 2009 AFL Draft. Port Adelaide has picks 8 and 9 - an incredible opportunity to scoop up two of the best young talents in the country.

They select John Butcher at 8, and Andrew Moore at 9. Moore has played 50 games, whilst Butcher has only played 24. Now itís not all about games, but compare Winesí and Wingardís impact on the club within their first 50 games and itís not looking good for the pair drafted in 2009. So Port Adelaide, itís your call. Are these two draft picks sweet or sour.

If you had the chance to go back in 2009, would you redraft these two players?

Final words

Portís drafting in 2004 was horrible. Besides Danyle Pearce, the club would have to be disappointed with the results. On the other hand, their drafting in 2006 and 2008 was inspiring and brilliant.

Theyíve fluffed a few mid-late first round draft picks, but Portís ability to snare a gem in the late rounds and in the rookie draft would have to be up there with the best in the AFL.

The time is now for Port. Their premiership window is open. Can their young talent, (the ones who have been recently drafted) the likes of Impey, Amon, Ah Chee, Clurey and Wagner develop and carry the torch for Port Adelaide fans into the future?

Itís been a noteworthy drafting effort since 2001 for the Power, and the proof is in the pudding, considering their rise to the top in the last few years. But can they sustain it?

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