Charlie Dixon handballs under pressure by James Aish during the AAMI Community Series match between Port Adelaide and Fremantle at Alberton Oval on March 1, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

PORT Adelaide overcame an ankle injury to Zak Butters to produce an otherwise polished tune-up for round one, with Connor Rozee starring in the Power's 39-point win against Fremantle at Alberton. 

POWER v DOCKERS Full match coverage and stats

Butters was benched halfway through the first quarter after suffering a sprained ankle, with the Power declaring he was managed out of caution just 16 days before the team's season opener against West Coast in Perth. 


The star onballer went down innocuously after a bright start and made his way to the bench where he iced his right ankle, with the Power not concerned about the prospect of a more serious injury. 

"He's reasonably bullish he'll be OK, but it's good timing. We've got a week to get him over the incident and then a week to prepare him for the next game. I'd be very surprised if he's not available for round one," coach Ken Hinkley said after the 13.14 (92) to 8.5 (53) win.

In Butters' absence, Rozee drove a powerful team performance, finishing with 26 disposals and eight score involvements, drifting forward to kick a skilful goal over his shoulder as the Power surged in the second quarter.


Port overwhelmed Fremantle with its pressure throughout, won the contested battle and attacked the corridor, making their biggest move in a clinical third quarter that saw them play the game in their half and pile on 4.6 to 0.0.

Small forward Willie Rioli capitalised with three goals, while Brownlow medallist Ollie Wines was in terrific midfield touch with 27 disposals and four clearances. 


Both teams managed players later in the match, with Fremantle ruckman Sean Darcy benched after half-time and Port Adelaide backman Esava Ratugolea sitting out the final quarter. 

Dockers champion Nat Fyfe played the entire match in the midfield in his final competitive hitout before Fremantle hosts Brisbane in round one, finishing with 26 disposals and five clearances.   

The midfield was one area of strength for the Dockers, with Hayden Young the team's standout player with 26 touches and two outstanding goals as he continues his shift from half-back, while Caleb Serong (29 and seven clearances) was prominent. 


The Dockers won the clearance battle 35-29 but were unable to take advantage in a forward line that was missing injured trio Luke Jackson (concussion), Jye Amiss (corked quad) and Michael Frederick (hamstring), taking just five marks inside 50 to the Power's 18.

"They were clearly tougher than us," Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir said after the match.

"It's a good wake-up call. Our contested ball work is something we've been really focused on over the pre-season and that let us down. Then clearly they got on the outside of us way too much. It was a wake-up call and we'll take a lot from that."

New faces
Esava Ratugolea was the most impactful of the Power's four recruits, using his size and aerial strength expertly to lock down his man and intercept, particularly through the first half. With Brandon Zerk-Thatcher alongside him, the back six had a stable look about it. Ivan Soldo and Jordon Sweet shared ruck duties and it is a strong combination that Hinkley hasn't ruled out taking into round one. For the Dockers, pre-season recruit Pat Voss kicked a nice set shot goal from 50m on an angle but otherwise lacked opportunities. Key defender Oscar McDonald had the job on Todd Marshall and kept him to one goal, while draftee Cooper Simpson provided a rare highlight with a running goal from 50m.

Ivan Soldo and Sean Darcy compete in the ruck during the AAMI Community Series match between Port Adelaide and Fremantle at Alberton Oval on March 1, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

Round one chance
The big decisions for Port Adelaide rest in the ruck and on the wings. Soldo shapes as the most likely big man to take on West Coast in round one, but Sweet is a challenger. Midfielder Jackson Mead (21 disposals and eight marks) is firming as a chance, while Jase Burgoyne (20 and four inside 50s) remains in the picture for a wing role. Fremantle wingman Jeremy Sharp (10 disposals and a goal) was quiet but should improve after his first match with the club. Simpson looks like he should be right on the edge of selection.

Medical room
Butters was the only notable injury out of the match, with Port otherwise in good health after Marshall and Drew's returns. Sam Powell-Pepper remains the Power's major concern after the forward was handed a four-match ban.  The Dockers were without Luke Jackson (concussion), Jye Amiss (corked leg), Michael Frederick (hamstring) and Brennan Cox (leg) but hope to have all available for round one. Tom Emmett could also come into the team after missing with illness.

Fantasy watch
The big points came from the Power players running out of defence. Ryan Burton (DEF, $579,000) had 25 kicks and 13 marks for 125 while Dan Houston (DEF, $837,000) finished with 114 Fantasy points. We saw an all-round game from Connor Rozee (MID, $956,000) through the midfield with 112 points thanks to 26 disposals, four marks, seven tackles and a goal. Ollie Wines (MID, $701,000) is once again an inside midfielder and his 95 points was promising for coaches keen on starting him as an under-priced midfielder. The one shining light for Fremantle was Hayden Young (DEF, $805,000). He's in the midfield and he battled hard, collecting 26 disposals, laying seven tackles and kicking two goals for a team-high 114. Port Adelaide was a tough team to score against last season. With that in mind, was the 58 from Nat Fyfe (MID/FWD, $491,000) enough to warrant selection in our forward lines? 26 disposals was a big plus, but he was handball happy. A late goal helped boost the Fantasy score for Jeremy Sharp (MID, $284,000). He ran the wing collecting 10 disposals and 51 points. - Warnie from The Traders


PORT ADELAIDE      2.3    7.5    11.11    13.14 (92)
             2.2    5.3    5.3       8.5 (53)

Port Adelaide:
Rioli 3, Dixon 2, Boak, Byrne-Jones, Drew, Marshall, McEntee, Rozee, Soldo, Wines
Fremantle: Young 2, Walters 2, Sharp, Simpson, Switkowski, Voss

Port Adelaide: Rozee, Wines, Rioli, Houston, Horne-Francis, Burton
Young, Serong, Pearce, Fyfe, Brayshaw, Ryan

Port Adelaide:
Butters (ankle)

Crowd: 4,539 at Alberton Oval