PORT Adelaide's list management team should never be accused of being timid.

The Power instantly involved themselves in future draft pick trading in its inception year in 2015, and snared power forward Charlie Dixon through such a deal.

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It was more of the same a year later, when they bundled several picks across multiple trades – including their 2017 first-round choice – in order to select Todd Marshall and Sam Powell-Pepper.

Then, after star Eagle Luke Shuey broke Port hearts with an after-the-siren dagger in their 2017 elimination final, Chris Davies, Jason Cripps, Geoff Parker and co. got to work again.

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They set about adding experience to try and contend the next year; signing free agents Steven Motlop, Tom Rockliff, Trent McKenzie and Jack Trengove, while also drafting Lindsay Thomas as a rookie.

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The Power's mistake, in hindsight, was they thought were closer to success than they were.

By the end of 2018, Port Adelaide's placings in the previous four years (after finals) were, from most recent back: 10th, seventh, 10th and ninth.

Pressure was building on coach Ken Hinkley, but a longer-term decision was made, with the idea of shaking the Power out of their middling rut.

And there was only one way they planned on doing it. Boldly.

So much emphasis is placed on having a good number of senior contributors in the mid-20s age demographic, yet Port had an epiphany.

That group wasn't taking the Power to any great heights, so why keep persisting with them over younger footballers? 

North Melbourne had made a huge play for Jared Polec (then aged 26), while Chad Wingard's (25) career had stalled and he was looking for a fresh start.

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Port advised Jasper Pittard (27) and Jack Hombsch (25) to explore their trade options, while Thomas (30) retired and 24-year-olds Jake Neade, Dom Barry and Jimmy Toumpas were among those cut.

The Power packaged Polec and Pittard for the Roos' first-round pick in 2018, and scored promising Hawk Ryan Burton and another top-20 selection as part of the Wingard remuneration.

They had long coveted the 2018 draft class, especially at the top end, and used North's pick, along with three other top-50 selections, to acquire Fremantle's No.6 and a future third-round choice.

Based purely on the AFL Draft Value Index, the Dockers fleeced Port, which then gave up even more to climb from six to five in a trade with Brisbane that also saw them score Sam Mayes.

The Power were being aggressive again, including signing Scott Lycett on a five-year free agency deal from West Coast.

They eventually nabbed South Australian prodigy Connor Rozee at five, Zak Butters with their own pick 12, and Xavier Duursma with what was once Hawthorn's No.18.

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"A couple of years ago, we identified this draft pool of players as being very talented, and our list management strategy was to maximise our picks in the first round," national recruiting manager Parker said at the time.

"For the first time since 2009, we had three picks inside the first round and we are very pleased to welcome Connor, Zak and Xavier to our club." 

Port Adelaide finished 10th again last year, but did so swapping much of that middle bracket for an exciting young core, with star veterans on top, such as Travis Boak, Robbie Gray and Dixon.

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Again, the Power identified what they did and didn't want – and maximised the return.

Dougal Howard, Paddy Ryder and a top-10 pick were shipped to the Saints for multiple top-20 selections.

Separate deals with Brisbane saw Port part with its future first-rounder to enhance its 2019 haul, then take advantage of the Lions' want to move up and secure Deven Robertson.

Thanks to father-son prospect Jackson Mead, the Power finished with four top-25 picks, with the other three used on Miles Bergman (14), Mitch Georgiades (18) and Dylan Williams (23).

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Georgiades grows in front of our eyes

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Last week, Port Adelaide fielded five players 21 or younger, with just four – Lycett, Ollie Wines, Tom Clurey and Mayes – in the 25-to-27 bracket.

Admittedly, the Power lost convincingly to Geelong. However, similar team demographics all season have them somewhat surprisingly atop the ladder.

It's an unusual mix for a contending squad – quite different to, say, Brisbane and Collingwood – and, perhaps, Port never intended to be at the pointy end this soon, but none of this happened by accident.