After another topsy-turvy season form wise, Steven Motlop has exercised his right as a free agent and joined Port Adelaide, Geelong not matching the reported $2mil, four year deal. The biggest surprise being the compensation pick that Geelong will receive for the loss of the skillful Motlop, and end of first-round selection which is currently pick 19. Motlop had suitors in Adelaide, Gold Coast and Port Adelaide and eventually settled on the club with the family connections, his brother Daniel played for Port Adelaide and his cousin Marlon currently works there.
Criticised for his consistency throughout the season, Motlop was one of Geelong’s best performed during their three-game finals series. The standout game: Sydney, where he bought relentless pressure as well as run and carry, and creativity. He has kicked 22 and 38 goals in the last two years and will find a home in a talented Port Adelaide lineup.
Whether or not Motlop can increase his SuperCoach output at a new club will ultimately come down to whether a new environment can help add some consistency to his game. He’s expected to play a similar role at Port Adelaide to what he did at Geelong, a winger come forward. He’s got genuine pace, is a beautiful kick with his right foot and when he’s given time with the ball – he had the second most bounces in the competition in 2017 – he delivers to dangerous positions.
The addition of both Motlop and the forward-capable Tom Rockliff at Port Adelaide will have an impact on the roles that both Robbie Gray and Chad Wingard play in 2018. This year, Wingard spent more time in the midfield while Gray spent significant time in the forward line for the Power. Expect the pair’s position to be much less static next year.
At Geelong, Motlop’s absence opens up a position for a dynamic midfielder come forward. Nakia Cockatoo needs to remain fit if he is to claim that position. Brandon Parfitt played plenty of games this year and will likely be given more responsibility, while the potential additions of Gary Ablett and Jack Watts add a genuine threat in the forward half.
Motlop finished the season with an average of 73.4 as a forward with just one triple figure score during the season proper, and a couple from Geelong’s finals games to finish the season. He’s likely to start the 2018 SuperCoach season around the $400k mark which puts him right in that mid-priced bracket for a forward. His role won’t differ greatly at his new club and although he has a triple figure ceiling, I can’t see him hitting it on a consistent basis. Not worth the gamble for me.