Jasper Pittard is coming out of contract at the end of the year, and the unrestricted free agent is yet to open contract discussions with Port Adelaide.
Drafted by the Geelong Falcons with pick 16 in 2009, Pittard didn’t make his debut until his second-year. In 2011 he earned a NAB Rising Star nomination after a 25 possession game in Port Adelaide’s Showdown win. Before being struck down by injury, he played 12 of the first 13 games that year.
2012 – his third year, saw him play just one game due to injury and inconsistent form, but he bounced back the following year and set himself up for a big 2014. The Power took the AFL by storm that season and Pittard was the catalyst. He played every game, including their three finals, and led their attack with his run out of defence.
Last year saw him become a leader in Port Adelaide’s backline and drive their forays forward with authority. He took home a hat-trick of awards, finishing third in the John Cahill Medal – the Power’s Best & Fairest award – as well as winning the Fos Williams Medal as Port Adelaide’s best team man, and the Coaches Choice Award as the most improved player at the club.
In the past three years, he’s addressed the major knock on his game – his disposal efficiency, which now sits just under 80% for the season. The 26-year-old is just hitting his prime and has plenty of football left in him.
Having seen how aggressive defenders can influence the game – think Pittard, Jason Johannisen, Sam Docherty, Brodie Smith and Jayden Hunt – there’s no doubt Pittard is a valuable commodity.
WHY HE STAYS
Pittard has spent eight years at Port Adelaide, and has spoken about his loyalty to the club on a number of occasions. With the Power currently sitting 5th on the AFL Ladder and a big chance of playing Finals in 2017, Pittard will see success on the horizon – and the Power needs Pittard if that success is to come to fruition.
Port Adelaide lack depth in that genuine line-breaking speed out of the backline and through the middle. Though they are no longer playing that break-neck fast football that saw them just a kick away from playing in the 2014 Grand Final, they still rely on rebounding pace. Although Pittard is no longer the sole proprietor of that role – Darcy Byrne-Jones is developing nicely – he is the experienced one.
WHY HE GOES
Having been axed twice already this year for form, his job security is no longer assured at the Power. A number of Victorian clubs – he grew up in the state – have shown interest in the running defender with reports suggesting both North Melbourne and Essendon are keen for his services beyond 2017. His abilities would suit the way Essendon like to move the football, and he’d slot straight in to a young North Melbourne team despite there being a number of aggressive defenders there already.
Port Adelaide also has a raft of players coming out of contract at the end of 2017 and are reported to have a very tight salary cap. Although the new CBA is now in place giving the club some wriggle room, they’ll have a lot of juggling to do to pitch a competitive offer to a number of players, including Pittard.
NAT FYFE #3
Fremantle Captain and Brownlow Medallist Nat Fyfe was to be our Number 3, however, he re-signed with the Dockers eleven days ago, committing to a long-term contract.
The midfielder has shunned offers from rival clubs – St Kilda was believed to be highly interested – and remained loyal to Fremantle despite the lure of a more lucrative contract elsewhere. The terms of his new deal are reported to be $7 million over six years.