PATRICK Ryder's arrival at Port Adelaide will allow Justin Westhoff to push higher up the field for longer this season, with the 28-year-old Power veteran even flagging a midfield role.
Westhoff's time as a link between attack and defence or deep in the backline has always been cautiously managed, with the Power reliant on his presence up forward as a tall target.
Since Ryder's recruitment from Essendon last October though, the 199cm key forward said he had been spending far more time training up out of the forward 50m arc.
The freedom that Ryder's ruck partnership with Matthew Lobbe could offer Westhoff is mouth-watering.
"It opens a few options to playing on the wing or a little bit through the midfield – that's something that I've looked at over the last six months," Westhoff said.
"That (on the ball) is an area I can see myself playing but we've got top-quality guys, elite guys who play that area. I suppose if I get a chance, I'll have a look.
"That's where I've [focused] most of my footy over the last few weeks."
Westhoff joined fellow Tanunda native Sam Colquhoun and teammate Tom Clurey at Tanunda Primary School on Monday as part of the club's Community Camp in South Australia's Barossa Valley.
Although Clurey and Colquhoun are yet to cement a place in Port's starting 22, Westhoff is a crucial member of the side predicted to challenge for this year's premiership.
Remarkably, the Power also have one of the youngest lists in the competition which suggests their 'premiership window' could remain open for several seasons.
However, coach Ken Hinkley warned against such thinking and told AFL.com.au his club wanted to "live in the now".
Westhoff echoed his coach's comments, claiming he and several of his teammates were perfectly placed to perform.
"In my first year (2007) I had a little bit of a taste of what it was like to be a good team," he said.
"We're in a period now where we have a chance to do it, but we've got to give ourselves the right opportunities to be in the right places come the end of the season.
"We’ve got a lot of guys in the prime of their career and a lot of experience as well, which also helps.
"At the moment we're doing everything right."
After Westhoff joked that he could line up in the centre square alongside Lobbe, Ryder and Jay Schulz, injured teammate Colquhoun said he was on track to return to football early this season.
Colquhoun injured his knee while playing in the SANFL in late April last year and underwent a reconstruction.
He was impressive in his debut season (2013) and played 10 games – including two finals – as the AFL’s youngest player.
The 20-year-old didn't want to add pressure to his recovery by announcing a possible return date but said his rehabilitation had so far proved almost flawless.
"If it's early in the year that I'll return that'll be awesome but if it takes a couple of extra weeks there's no rush," he said.
"As far as confidence in the knee goes, it's feeling as good as ever.