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Poults - Alberton's Cult Hero by Craig McKay

"This is what you dream of, every kid in the backyard, with the big trees lined up with the footy, before your mum calls you in for dinner, the shot after the siren to win it. Jared Poulton, your time has come...drop punt... YOUR TIME HAS COME". Those were the words of Channel 9 commentator Dwayne Russell as Jared Poulton lined up, and kicked the winning goal after the siren against the Sydney Swans. 
Russell is correct. Jared Poulton's time has definitely come. After being delisted at the end of the year and then redrafted, Poulton has turned his career around from being a fringe player with a lot of heart but suspect disposal, to an important part of our first 22. With his kick yesterday he has turned from cult hero, to a Messiah, becoming only the second Power player to kick a goal after the siren to win a match.

First time I saw Jared Poulton was in his first game for the Port Adelaide Magpies, the ANZAC Day Massacre - Rd 7 1997, when Port were thrashed by their biggest ever losing margin to Norwood. I didn't have a budget with me and wondered who this quick kid with long blonde greasy hair that looked like Clive Waterhouse was. Even though we were thumped that day, he played a reasonable game and looked impressive. He kept on impressing as the year went on, and played his best game in the 2nd Semi Final against Norwood. He picked up a lot of the ball that day, and his 4th quarter was one of the best individual quarters I've seen from any player. He had cemented himself in the Port Magpies league side that year, playing 20 games. He played in the losing Grand Final to Norwood.

Poults had an up and down season in 1998. He started well, making the best players in Rd 4, before losing some form and being dropped to the reserves for 7 weeks. He came back in Round 19 better than ever. He made the best players in 7 straight games from Round 21 all the way through to coming 2nd best in the winning Grand Final against Sturt.  This stellar finals form must have impressed the Power as Jared was drafted to Port Adelaide's AFL side with pick 5 in the 1999 pre-season draft.

Jared played his first AFL game in Round 1 1999 against Sydney. He played well, collecting 10 touches and kicking the sealing goal in the last quarter. He was dropped the next week however, for the returning Shane Bond. Back at the Magpies he played some very good football, named in the best in Rounds 3 and 5, before getting a call up for the Showdown and staying in the team for 5 weeks. He played his best game in Round 8 against Carlton, collecting 12 touches and kicking a goal. He was then dropped back to the Magpies for the rest of the year. He played well, and again was a vital part in our finals success, being named high in our best players for both the 2nd Semi Final win and Grand Final win.

Year 2000 saw him cement himself in the Power as the sides back pocket, taking over from the injured Shane Bond. He only missed 2 games in 2000, both through injury. One of our most improved players, Poults became a reliable and committed defender. His 2001 season was not as good unfortunately. Despite being part of the 2001 Ansett Cup Grand Final victory, Poults only managed 8 games in 2001, struggling to cement himself in the Power side during their best ever season. However his Magpies form was brilliant. Playing in much more of a midfield/flank role he made the best players 9 out of the 17 games he played, including 2 finals. Most Port supporters were shocked when Jared was delisted at the end of last year. But, according to the Club his spot in the squad was never in doubt and he was always going to be redrafted.

Poults hasn't looked back this season and is enjoying his best to date. He has played all but one game this season for the Power, becoming somewhat of a super-sub. He has cemented himself in the Power side, coming off the bench to fill many different roles. He has played defence, forward and spent a little time as a midfielder this season. His best ever game coming in Round 12 against Richmond where he played across the back flank, pouncing on every Tiger error.

I'm sure most Power supporters are very pleased to see Poults enjoying his best ever season in Port colours. His cult hero status will grow even more now after Sundays after the siren goal. Let's hope Poults can continue his form for the rest of the season and help the Power onto its first ever premiership!!


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Revised:  Tuesday, 16 July 2002