Port Adelaide looks set for a big season after making some bold list decisions. Picture: AFL Photos

PORT Adelaide's mini-rebuild is starting to take shape.

Three years since the Power's last finals appearance, the bold changes they've made since that epic extra-time elimination final loss to West Coast are on the verge of paying off.

A combination of targeting experience in free agency, making tough list choices, smart trades and astute recruiting has put the Power in the perfect spot to begin their ascent up the ladder.


While results from pre-season games should be treated with extreme caution, there were several elements of the Power's impressive performance against Brisbane that should give their supporters cause for optimism.

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The first was the form of enigmatic forward Steven Motlop.

He's shown glimpses of magic since joining the Power on a four-year deal at the end of 2017, but hasn't been able to put it together consistently.


Motlop played just 14 senior games last year and languished in the SANFL after round 18.

However, the former Cat returned from the off-season in fantastic shape and looks determined to make an impact in attack while also rolling through the midfield.

Motlop joined the Power at the same time as Tom Rockliff, another big-name signing just weeks after the heartbreaking defeat to the Eagles.


Rockliff battled injury in his first season at the Power, but was more comfortable last year, averaging 28.4 disposals.

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The 30-year-old is a ball magnet, hard to move at stoppages and can feed the ball out to his outside runners.

The following year, the Power secured West Coast premiership-winning ruckman Scott Lycett as a free agent on a five-year deal.

Scott Lycett was a little inconsistent in 2019. Picture: AFL Photos

Lycett's form was up and down last season, but he's a strong tap ruckman who can also provide a target forward of the ball.

The three kids the Power nabbed in the first round of the 2018 national draft are all class.

Connor Rozee (fifth overall) is a star, Zak Butters (12th) is dynamic in attack with his pressure and goal-sense and Xavier Duursma (18th) has slotted seamlessly on to a wing.


Eight players from that 2017 final – Jared Polec, Chad Wingard, Paddy Ryder, Jasper Pittard, Dougal Howard, Sam Gray, Jarman Impey and Jake Neade – are no longer at the Power.

Polec and Wingard are the most substantial losses, but the Power were justified in moving both on.

Polec received a godfather offer from the Kangaroos that the Power were right not to match, while Wingard's history of soft tissue injuries and questionable work ethic made it best for a fresh start for both parties.

Port lost Jared Polec, which was a tough pill to swallow. Picture: AFL Photos

The Power were also able to snare South Australian defender Ryan Burton in the Wingard trade.

The Howard trade to the Saints – despite having three years to run on his Power contact – had many scratching their heads.

However, his turnovers by foot made him a liability in defence, although that is offset by his strong marking.

Experienced duo Jackson Trengove joined the Western Bulldogs in free agency, experienced defender Matthew Broadbent was let go and a handful of fringe players, including Aaron Young, Logan Austin, Matthew Lobbe, Brendon Ah Chee, Jack Hombsch and Billy Frampton found new clubs.

The replacements have made the Power a stronger and more balanced side than they were three years ago.

That's without even mentioning the development of players like Dan Houston, Karl Amon or Darcy Byrne-Jones, or the latest batch of draftees that have arrived at the club, with four picks in the top-25.


The most ready to play senior football is athletic forward Mitch Georgiades, although Miles Bergman, Dylan Williams and father-son recruit Jackson Mead all have bright futures.

While the Power's top-end talent is strong with the likes of Travis Boak, Robbie Gray, Brad Ebert, Hamish Hartlett and Ollie Wines, there's also depth.

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Jack Watts – traded to the Power in exchange for pick 31 at the end of 2017 – looked sound in defence before a badly-broken leg last year in round two, while Trent McKenzie, picked up as a delisted free agent, has showed he's more than capable as a key defender.

Then there's emerging ruckman Peter Ladhams, midfielders Willem Drew and Joe Atley, defender Joel Garner and forward Kane Farrell, who have all had a taste of senior football in the past couple of seasons.


The Power have finished 10th in each of the past two years.

Injuries have played a major part.

Watts (two games last year), Dixon (nine), Ebert (11), Wines (12), Burton (16), Amon (17), Jonas (18), Rockliff (18), Lycett (18) and Gray (19) all struggled to stay on the park.

But it's far different this year with Wines and Mead the only two in doubt for round one.

It's a big season for the Power with coach Ken Hinkley needing to make the finals to remain in the job next year.

Hinkley is embracing the pressure and expectation, believing he finally has the list at a place where it can deliver at a high level consistently.

The initial signs are promising. The next seven months will tell the full story.

In: Jack Watts (trade, Melbourne), Tom Rockliff (free agent, Brisbane), Steven Motlop (free agent, Geelong), Trent McKenzie (delisted free agent, Gold Coast), Jack Trengove (delisted free agent, Melbourne), Sam Hayes (pick 47, national draft), Kane Farrell (pick 51, national draft), Jake Patmore (pick 58, national draft), Joel Garner (pick 60, national draft), Dom Barry (pick 61, national draft), Lindsay Thomas (pick 12, rookie draft).

Out: Jackson Trengove (free agency, Western Bulldogs), Aaron Young (trade, Gold Coast), Logan Austin (trade, St Kilda), Matthew Lobbe (trade, Carlton), Jarman Impey (trade, Hawthorn), Brendon Ah Chee (trade, West Coast), Nathan Krakouer (retired), Angus Monfries (retired), Matt White (delisted), Jesse Palmer (delisted), Brett Eddy (delisted). 

In: Scott Lycett (free agent, West Coast), Sam Mayes (trade, Brisbane), Ryan Burton (trade, Hawthorn), Connor Rozee (pick five, national draft), Zak Butters (pick 12, national draft), Xavier Duursma (pick 18, national draft), Riley Grundy (pick 73, national draft), Boyd Woodcock (pick 76, national draft), Tobin Cox (pick nine, rookie draft), Kai Pudney (NGA Cat B rookie), Martin Frederick (NGA Cat B rookie)

Out: Jared Polec (trade, North Melbourne), Jasper Pittard (trade, North Melbourne), Chad Wingard (trade, Hawthorn), Jack Hombsch (trade, Gold Coast), Lindsay Thomas (retired), Jimmy Toumpas (delisted), Emmanuel Irra (delisted), Jake Neade (delisted), Dom Barry (delisted), Will Snelling (delisted)

In: Cam Sutcliffe (pick nine, mid-season rookie draft), Wylie Buzza (delisted free agent, Geelong), Miles Bergman (pick 14, national draft), Mitch Georgiades (pick 18, national draft), Dylan Williams (pick 23, national draft), Jackson Mead (father-son, national draft), Jake Pasini (pick eight, rookie draft), Trent Burgoyne (father-son, rookie draft)

Out: Billy Frampton (trade, Adelaide), Dougal Howard (trade, St Kilda), Paddy Ryder (trade, St Kilda), Sam Gray (delisted, Sydney), Jack Trengove (delisted) Cam Hewett (delisted), Kai Pudney (delisted), Matthew Broadbent (delisted), Aidyn Johnson (delisted)