NEWLY appointed Port Adelaide backline coach Tyson Goldsack is relishing his new role as he looks to help the Power go all the way in 2024, but it's the acquisition of some handy recruits over the off-season that has him particularly excited.
Port conceded more points (1,906) than any other side in the top eight last season as Aliir Aliir played almost a lone hand in the tall defender space for the Power.
However, a busy during Trade Period saw Port stock up on key defenders Esava Ratugolea and Brandon Zerk-Thatcher as well as ruckmen Ivan Soldo and Jordon Sweet, injecting some much needed height into the side.
Goldsack said he was thrilled with the way the new recruits have fitted into the backline.
"(They're) already going really well. They kind of the suit our brand of football to begin with, we feel so they've actually slotted in nicely," Goldsack told reporters on Friday.
"We're starting to get some match play now so we get a look at them in in real time and see how they operate with the other defenders.
"They don't mind playing a more attacking style so whether that's positioning, whether that's the freedom or confidence to go after the ball in the air. We feel we lacked that a little bit last year, so they give us that extra height.
"Their one-on-one stuff is good so when they're in a contest, and we've got some pretty tall forwards who are competitive, so they're holding their own, and some at the moment."
Goldsack was elevated from his development and SANFL coaching role into his current position overseeing the Power's defence late last year and quickly set about implementing some tweaks to the side's defensive structure.
The new-look backline now includes more height and depth, thanks in part to the recruitment of Zerk-Thatcher and Ratugolea, along with the return to fitness of Tom Clurey and Trent McKenzie.
"It's exciting. It comes with its challenges, kind of trying to bring in a different form of defence, but, you know, tinkering with a couple of things," Goldsack said.
"Trying to get the players to adapt always takes a bit of time with a little bit of teething. It's been a fairly heavy workload the first couple of weeks of this year, but I love it.
"I think our backline is in a good position, but our team defence, everyone's buying in the way they should be at this time of year, so I think we're getting some shifts where we need them."
McKenzie suffered a posterior cruciate ligament injury that sidelined him in the latter stages of the home and away season. While he returned to feature in the Power's two finals, he underwent surgery in the off-season but has since returned to full training.
"He's gone well, he's just started doing full training now a couple of days ago which figures because we've got all the testing done. He's started feeling pretty good," Goldsack said.
"It's a delayed start, but we know he can start performing in a pretty quick turnaround."
Young gun Miles Bergman is another that could feature in defence next season, with Goldsack resolute on having the 22-year-old down back rather than in the midfield in 2024.
"I'm pretty keen to keep Bergman in the backline. It was thrown up 'oh we could…' but I was like 'no we can't, he's mine. And I'll keep him, thanks very much!.'"
Port Adelaide will kick off its 2024 campaign against West Coast at Adelaide Oval on Sunday, March 17.