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A fresh opportunity for Port Adelaide
No redemption story - this is an all new ballgame
03/22/2018 8:08 PM ET
Port Adelaide's into a second-consecutive grand final, can they claim the premiership?
Port Adelaide's into a second-consecutive grand final, can they claim the premiership? (Our Sporting Life SA)

Port Adelaide has reached its second consecutive SABL Grand Final, presented by VIVA Global, and after going down to West Torrens last season Goodwood presents a fresh opportunity, rather than a second chance, for the Magpies and Coach Chris Sims.

"Given we have a new opponent this year it certainly makes it feel different," Sims says.

"West Torrens really were in contention and that would have felt like it was an opportunity for redemption but going in against Goodwood it's just another opportunity to win a championship."

Port Adelaide finished second on the ladder after spending much of the season in an arm wrestle for top spot with West Torrens. With two series sweeps in finals against Woodville and Kensington they are arguably the in-form team.

"Pitching and defence certainly has been the backbone of our success," Sims says.

"We have a really strong defensive team and we field the ball really well. Our outfielders are quick and can close the ball down quickly which is a plus for us, especially playing at West Beach which has the bigger outfield.

"We don't rely on the same individuals for offence; we've shown all year that we have a number of guys that can get the job done when needed."

The key for Port Adelaide was building on the foundations of last season with very few roster additions. Most importantly they retained imports Alex Carter and Dylan Brammer, who claimed last season's Capps Medal before going back-to-back with this season's Capps Medal.

Brammer polled 39 votes to finish eight clear of Henley & Grange's Landon Hernandez.

"Dylan coming off a Capps Medal and being able to pitch and hit, he and Alex Carter were certainly a priority to get them back for us this year," Sims explains.

"Alex just runs our pitching staff from behind the plate and is a great leader. The intensity and care factor they have, the other guys feed off that. They lead from the front."

Alongside Brammer, Adam Crabb has been a dominant starter while former Team Australia pitcher Dushan Ruzic has offered class as a closer.

Missing is Jack O'Loughlin, with the 18-year-old in America for his first Spring Training with Detroit's rookie league team.

Sims says he's feeling very confident of the Port team that will take on Goodwood.

"We were really happy with the make-up of our squad from last year and we didn't want to change too much going into this year," he says.

"With a couple of additions into our squad I was confident we were going to be at least as good, if not better than last year.

"Dylan Brammer didn't really throw in the grand final last year either so we've got plenty of upside. Adam Crabb's been very strong for us in the playoffs and had a great year."

Expectations for this grand final are set on a tight series; especially after all three games between the sides during the season were decided by one run.

"We play pretty close baseball," Sims says.

"We don't blow many teams out at the best of times. Goodwood's very strong on offence and our pitching will be doing their very best to combat their line-up."

Meanwhile, Sims believes experience will play its part but Port's flexibility will offer a slight advantage.

"One big thing that we have in the squad is flexibility. Not just guys being two-way guys, but being able to play multiple positions," Sims says.

"Both teams are littered with experienced players at the ABL and SABL finals level so I don't think either team is going to be too surprised by what is thrown up this weekend."

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.