Mitch Georgiades is told he will return to Port Adelaide's senior side for R4, 2024. Picture: Matthew Sampson​​​​

PORT Adelaide's Mitch Georgiades will be cast in a fresh role when he makes his comeback from a year-long knee injury, coach Ken Hinkley says.

Georgiades will play against Essendon at Adelaide Oval on Friday night, his first AFL game since March 25 last year after he required reconstructive surgery.

The 49-gamer had been used primarily as a deep forward but Hinkley said Georgiades would be deployed in a roaming role against the Bombers.

"Mitch has pretty much been almost the goal square forward, lead up at the ball," Hinkley said on Thursday.

"Whereas now we think he's growing, he's going to be able to play a more half-forward flank position.

"You only have to look at his history ... (he) is pretty hard work for the opposition to stop.

"He is a great athlete, not just a great aerial athlete, he's a great athlete on the ground too so we're really hopeful that he adds to our speed on the ground.

"He is a young player ... but he's had time to get better and focus on certain areas of his game that will help him be more effective as an AFL player."

Hinkley confirmed on-baller Jason Horne-Francis will return from a two-game absence because of a hamstring injury.

Horne-Francis will replace Brownlow medallist Ollie Wines, who will miss because of a minor hamstring strain.

"I am confident it's only one week (out)," Hinkley said of Wines.

"He played the second half of the game with the same issue last week.

"But because we had some evidence through scans, we have just got to be cautious.

"Honesty, if it was Sunday (game) I think he would be playing. I know that sounds a bit ridiculous but that's fact."

Port, in eighth spot after suffering a first defeat of the season against Melbourne, have the same 2-1 win-loss record as the ninth-placed Bombers.


Port last year pipped Essendon twice, by five points in round eight and by four points in round 16, and Hinkley dismissed a supposed tougher edge in the Bombers this season.

"We expect Essendon to play in the same fashion that they have done over the last couple of years," he said.

"They will be a real challenge and they have been all the way through this year already for every team that's played against them."