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Power assistant wants ex-Hawk to be a man in the middle

Port Adelaide's new midfield coach wants to see Ryan Burton among his charges - AFL,Port Adelaide Power,Ryan Burton,Jack Watts
Port Adelaide's new midfield coach wants to see Ryan Burton among his charges
He's another one you add to your depth, don't just pigeon-hole him as a back
Jarrad Scofield on Ryan Burton

NEW PORT Adelaide midfield coach Jarrad Schofield will be making a case to include Hawthorn recruit Ryan Burton in an expanded on-ball brigade next season.

Schofield also believes utility Jack Watts could spend more time higher up the ground as the Power rejig their midfield unit following the departures of Jared Polec and Chad Wingard.

Burton made his name as a defender with the Hawks before he was surprisingly traded to the Power as part of the Wingard deal last month.

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The Power's backline was its strength last season, opening the door for Burton to be used on the wing or across half-forward.

Schofield said Burton has the skills to succeed in the midfield.

"I'd love him to, he's another one you add to your depth, don't just pigeon-hole him as a back," Schofield told reporters on Monday.

"I'm not the one to make those final decisions on selection, but with his foot skills and elite running ability, I can tell you right now, I'll be putting his name up."

Watts could also be under Schofield's guidance after he had a disappointing first season with the Power this year playing predominately in attack.

"Someone with his foot skills and decision making is valuable to the side," Schofield said.

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"Hopefully he's one of those players that does add to that depth."

Schofield, 43, joins the Power after guiding Subiaco to three WAFL premierships in his six seasons in charge.

He takes over a midfield group full of big bodies, featuring vice-captain Ollie Wines, Tom Rockliff, Brad Ebert and Sam Powell-Pepper.

The Power led the League in clearances (39.5 per game) and tackles (70) and were second in stoppage clearances (27.2), but were 12th in uncontested possessions (226.5) and 15th for handballs (156), highlighting their need for more speed across the ground.

"It depends what you classify as speed," Schofield said.

"Speed can be obviously leg speed, or is it speed of mind, speed of ball, getting it to the outside, so there's a mixture of that.

"We have a very strong midfield and we'll be looking to add depth to that midfield."

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Youngsters Joe Atley, Willem Drew and Jake Patmore could play more significant roles next year, while the Power also have picks five, 10, 15 and 85 at next week's NAB AFL Draft.

"Hopefully when we're going to the draft, if I'm being selfish, they might pick up three midfielders for me," Schofield said.

"The one thing I will be looking to add is greater depth to the midfield, so we're not just reliant on too few.

"We've got a whole pre-season to work out who they are.

"They'll be some surprises because I'm all about rewarding young guys for effort."

Schofield – a 2004 premiership player with the Power – felt it was the right time to join the AFL's coaching ranks.

"When you've coached a side that's gone through undefeated, all three grades have won, you look and go, what else is there to achieve," he said.

"I saw it as a fitting time to make that move."