ENTERING the AFL Women’s competition as one of four expansion teams in 2022, Port Adelaide has set the bar high with a slew of big name recruits and plenty of young talent to set the league alight. With just one local rival to contend with, albeit a formidable reigning premier, the Power will count themselves a good chance of shaking up the usual top six.
Legendary women’s footballing figure Erin Phillips skippers the side, but can she lead them to a finals appearance in year one? Will the Power live up to some of the preseason expectations set of them? We break down the answer to those questions with a look at the squad, fixture, potential best 21, and key talking points.
Alexandra Ballard, Ella Boag, Amelie Borg, Laquoiya Cockatoo-Motlap, Litonya Cockatoo-Motlap, Jade De Melo, Tessa Doumanis, Abbey Dowrick, Hannah Dunn, Yasmin Duursma, Hannah Ewings, Angela Foley, Sarah Goodwin, Jade Halfpenny, Cheyenne Hammond, Gemma Houghton, Lily Johnson, Olivia Levicki, Maggie Maclachlan, Elizabeth McGrath, Maria Moloney, Justine Mules, Ebony O’Dea, Brittany Perry, Erin Phillips, Kate Surman, Sachi Syme, Indy Tahau, Julia Teakle, Jacqueline Yorston
Round 1: @ West Coast | Mineral Resources Park
Round 2: vs. Western Bulldogs | Alberton Oval
Round 3: @ Carlton | Ikon Park
Round 4: vs. Sydney | Alberton Oval
Round 5: @ Gold Coast | Kombumerri Park
Round 6: vs. Adelaide | Adelaide Oval
Round 7: @ Hawthorn | Skybus Stadium
Round 8: vs. North | Alberton Oval
Round 9: @ St Kilda | RSEA Park
Round 10: vs. Essendon | Alberton Oval
POTENTIAL BEST 21:
B: Indy Tahau – Angela Foley
HB: Sarah Goodwin – Amelie Borg – Hannah Dunn
C: Justine Mules – Ebony O’Dea – Jacqui Yorston
HF: Erin Phillips – Julia Teakle – Jade De Melo
F: Gemma Houghton – Kate Surman
R: Elizabeth McGrath – Hannah Ewings – Maria Moloney
INT: Cheyenne Hammond – Jade Halfpenny – Abbey Dowrick – Sachi Syme – Maggie Maclachlan
EMG: Yasmin Duursma – Britt Perry – Alex Ballard
Remaining players: Ella Boag, Laquoiya Cockatoo-Motlap, Litonya Cockatoo-Motlap, Tessa Doumanis, Lily Johnson, Olivia Levicki (rookie)
LEAGUE B&F CONTENDER: Erin Phillips
Potentially the most obvious choice for any of the clubs, it’s hard to go past a two time winner of the award to go and take it out again.
This season Phillips finds herself in a very different situation to previous seasons, as the leader of a very young and very inexperienced side, but that will not stop her producing the kind of performances fans have come to known from her.
BIG YEAR FOR: Indy Tahau
A fresh start in a new state may just be what this promising young defender needs.
Although she only missed one game last season, she comes across to a Port side where she is one of the most experienced faces in the side, and has the potential to really step up and be one of the true leaders of this side.
KEY TALKING POINTS:
How will Port Adelaide fare with the best if one of its stars goes down?
As anyone who watched the Power on the weekend against Essendon would attest, they were winning the game up until the likes of Angela Foley and Gemma Houghton were rested at half time, and Essendon ran over the top of them.
That shows that although they have the talent to be a really competitive side, if one of their top end talents goes down for whatever reason, they may struggle to compete.
How will Port Adelaide match it with the top teams?
Since they are a brand new side, 14 other teams have had a head start on them in terms of number of AFLW preseasons and being conditioned to play at this level. The top teams in particular have a six season head start, so the question will be can Port somehow match it with these teams despite their opponents having a head start, and will that head start be too much of a hurdle for the Power to overcome?
The Port forward line may not be tall, but it sure is quick and strong
Another facet of Port’s game that was on full display on the weekend was the speed at their disposal in the forward line.
Now Port’s forward line is not all that tall, but with the likes of Houghton and Kate Surman down there, they sure have the pace to counter any issues they may have with a lack of height. But will not having the tall forwards be an issue moving forward? Time will tell
Will state league experience be enough to help make the transition to AFLW?
One glaring facet of Port’s list build was they got plenty of mature aged players from state leagues right across the country, including Tessa Doumanis, Jade De Melo and Elizabeth McGrath, so the question with that is will they be able to translate their state league experiences into useful things in their transition to AFLW. Yes state leagues and AFLW are very different kettles of fish, but will that experience and maturity still help and still translate?