Coming off back-to-back Grand Final appearances, including a premiership in 2011, expectations were high down at North Port Oval for season 2013. With change room renovations taking place at their home ground to start the year, Port Melbourne were to have relocated home games for the first handful of fixtures. They were also to be without back-to-back Liston medallist Shane Valenti and in and under gun Toby Pinwill for the first couple of months of the season, which gave a chance for lesser known players to step-up.
Season so far:
Though the side showed a little inconsistency in early games this year – possibly due to a lack of true home games – Port Melbourne came to the mid-season bye in red-hot form, winning five straight games. Port Melbourne copped a 85 point belting at the hands of Geelong over the weekend, however the Boroughs still sit in outright fifth place.
One to watch: Chris Cain
A very similar player to 2013 Collingwood recruit and close mate Sam Dwyer, Cain has significantly improved his build since playing in Port’s premiership side of 2011. The 25-year-old has garnered the attention of AFL clubs this year with his consistent work in the Port Melbourne midfield this year, and many have drawn comparisons to former teammate Sam Dwyer as the two are similarly damaging with ball in hand through the middle. If this form continues for the remainder of the VFL season, look for Cain to receive a chance at AFL level next year.
Slightly Disappointing: William Burstin
After consistently having a significant input to the side throughout the 2012 VFL season, including a handful of games within Port’s best five players on the field, Burstin has struggled to find the same consistency in 2013. He seems to have been giving away quite a few frees per game, which could be due to frustration with his quiet first half of the year. If his second half of the season is anything like his output from this point on last year, look for Burstin to start impacting games via disposal and by hitting the scoreboard, if he can turn around his below par first seven games.
Port Melbourne’s run home is far from easy, facing premiers Geelong along with main rivals Williamstown and ladder leaders Box Hill heading into the 2013 finals series. With key players Valenti, Pinwill and Hughes missing most of the season so far, look for Port to find some consistency as a team and win five or six of their remaining eight games of 2013. It’s difficult to see the Boroughs missing the four, and they will impact the finals in a big way once again.
Final record prediction: 12-6-1, 3rd