Ken Hinkley and Port Adelaide players before the semi-final clash against GWS at Adelaide Oval on September 16, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Ins and outs


Thomas Anastasopoulos (No.48 draft pick), Lachlan Charleson (No.52 draft pick), Will Lorenz (No.57 draft pick), Esava Ratugolea (trade, Geelong), Ivan Soldo (trade, Richmond), Jordon Sweet (trade, Western Bulldogs), Xavier Walsh (Rookie Draft), Brandon Zerk-Thatcher (trade, Essendon)


Nathan Barkla (delisted), Riley Bonner (delisted), Trent Dumont (delisted), Xavier Duursma (trade, Essendon), Orazio Fantasia (delisted), Sam Hayes (delisted), Tom Jonas (retired), Scott Lycett (retired), Jake Pasini (delisted), Brynn Teakle (delisted)

Medical room

Spearhead Charlie Dixon has conceded he is sore coming into a possible final season but lined up in the intraclub on Friday. Tom Clurey (back) and Mitch Georgiades (ACL) should be available for round one, along with promising young gun Josh Sinn (hamstring). Todd Marshall (hip) and Trent McKenzie (ankle) both underwent surgery following 2023 so were eased into pre-season.

Three burning questions

Pretenders or contenders?
The Power have been knocking on the door for a few years now. Preliminary finals in 2020 and 2021, finished 11th in a disappointing 2022, then stormed back last year only to lose a home semi-final to Greater Western Sydney. Are Port just making up the numbers or are they right in the flag window? Last year's finals series suggested they were still a step off the pace.

How many games will Charlie Dixon play?
Coming off 14 games in 2023 and 12 games in 2022, Dixon, 33, is well into the twilight of his career. Injury issues heading into 2024 suggest the Power may not get much more than that 10-15 game mark out of the spearhead. It means Todd Marshall and Jeremy Finlayson again have major roles to play, while more improvement from Ollie Lord and a solid comeback season from Mitch Georgiades would be huge bonuses.

Charlie Dixon in pain after a knock to his knee during Port Adelaide's clash against Collingwood in round 19, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

Are low-profile recruits the answer?
Port focussed on its defensive and ruck stocks in the Trade Period, bringing Esava Ratugolea (Geelong) and Brandon Zerk-Thatcher (Essendon) into the back six. The Power will be hoping they'll hold their own in shutdown roles to free up 2021 All-Australian Aliir Aliir, though Tom Clurey's return from injury will also come as a boost. Ivan Soldo (Richmond) comes in with Jordon Sweet (Western Bulldogs) to battle it out for the No.1 ruck role, replacing Scott Lycett (retired).

Track watch

The high-flying Mitch Georgiades is beginning to launch in 2024 after his 2023 season was cut short by an ACL tear. Jason Horne-Francis travelled to the US for a training camp with veteran Travis Boak in the off-season and is now confident he can run out games in the midfield. Brownlow medallist Ollie Wines looks set for a full-time return to an inside midfield role after being pushed out at times to the wing last year. Ivan Soldo has claimed favouritism for the no.1 ruck role. 

Ivan Soldo in action at a Port Adelaide training session on the Gold Coast in December 2023. Picture: Isabel Gawel, Port Adelaide FC

Fantasy lock

Zak Butters (MID, $898,000) has become a genuine star of the competition and the bonus is, after a slow start to the season playing forward, he is available as an under-priced midfielder. Butters has improved his average every year of his career, highlighted by last season's career-high 99.5. He had an eye catching six-week run through the middle of the season when he averaged 121 and finished the year in fine form, averaging 117 over the last month.

Instant hit

The Power managed to rank fourth for total clearances last season despite being 18th for hitouts, so a lack of force in the ruck didn't necessarily hinder their stoppage game. But the star-studded midfield will surely appreciate hitouts landing in their laps more often. That's where recruit Ivan Soldo comes in. The big man lacked opportunity at Richmond but of his eight AFL games last season, 34.6 per cent of his hitouts were to advantage, which is above League average. He'll give the midfield a defensive boost with his tackling (four per game in 2023) and is a threat when drifting forward. At 27, he'll be desperate to prove himself. 

It's a big year for…

Todd Marshall has signed a five-year contract extension, with the Power pencilling him in as the main man up forward until 2029. The 25-year-old will bear big responsibility in 2024, considering Dixon is nearing the end, Georgiades is returning from a knee reconstruction and Lord is still finding his feet. He'll have support from Finlayson, but may need to beat his previous best goals tally (45) for Port to push into September. 

Todd Marshall during Port Adelaide's game against Fremantle in R23, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Pass mark

After three failed finals campaigns over the past four years, it could be argued Port now need to strike while Boak, Dixon and Wines are still around. On the other hand, Rozee, Butters and Horne-Francis should lead the club for another decade, so it shouldn't be panic stations if they fail again. However, the pressure cooker will again rise on Ken Hinkley if they don't win at least one final, possibly two, in 2024. 

Best 23 for 2024

B: Trent McKenzie, Esava Ratugolea, Ryan Burton
HB: Miles Bergman, Aliir Aliir, Dan Houston
C: Travis Boak, Ollie Wines, Willem Drew
HF: Jason Horne-Francis, Todd Marshall, Sam Powell-Pepper
F: Willie Rioli, Charlie Dixon, Jeremy Finlayson
Foll: Ivan Soldo, Zak Butters, Connor Rozee
I/C: Kane Farrell, Darcy Byrne-Jones, Mitch Georgiades, Lachie Jones, Josh Sinn (sub)
Emerg: Jed McEntee, Dylan Williams, Brandon Zerk-Thatcher