PORT Adelaide youngster Miles Bergman is hoping a move to half-back and potentially the wing this season can help him break through for his first AFL game after an interrupted debut season.
Bergman was recruited with pick No.14 in the 2019 NAB AFL Draft as a medium midfielder/forward but injured his ankle as pre-season matches approached last year.
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It was then the Power told him he would be moved into defence when he recovered, spending the shutdown period studying vision and meeting with the backline group in preparation for the season restart.
The 19-year-old was an emergency several times last season but wasn't able to break into the team, with an anticipated debut among his goals for 2021 after a pre-season training in half-back and wing roles.
"I was hoping to get a game (last year), or as many as I could, and I was that close. But it's tough, especially when we were on top of the ladder all year and playing really good footy," Bergman told AFL.com.au.
"I was just happy for the boys to get as far as they did and help them out along the way as much as I can. Hopefully this year can be a bit different.
"It's good to be out there, because last pre-season I was injured for a lot of it.
"It's good to be fully fit and able to train with all the boys and I feel like all up it's going well."
Bergman faced an uphill battle to break into the team last season, with a limited amount of practice matches his only opportunity to prove himself in his new role.
He worked particularly closely with vice-captain Hamish Hartlett to hone his defensive craft and was able to use his run-and-carry and kicking ability to break the lines in practice games.
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Bergman said the move shaped as his best chance to break into the team this year, given the abundance of midfielder/forwards at Port Adelaide.
"They wanted that run and carry off half-back and thought I could learn and provide that," he said.
"I played a little bit of backline, but I haven't played for a while. (I thought) it sounds like a good idea so I'm ready to take anything onboard.
"We have a lot of forwards at the moment and they thought it was a good idea to move some players around and it might be the best opportunity for the team and then my chance to get a game."
Bergman focused on adding strength to his 183cm frame over the off-season and did plenty of interval running to build his fitness but manage the loads on his shins, which have troubled him in the past.
The commerce student returned to the club this year slightly lighter but certainly stronger, and coach Ken Hinkley has spoken to him about the potential to play on a wing if selected at AFL level.
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"We've had a couple of good chats to help me improve and what I need to get better at to get to that next level," he said.
"We've spoken about some of my contest stuff, possibly moving to a bit more wing time, so being strong over the ball, and then just working on some decisions, like when to take the game on and when to slow it down.
"Just being confident in myself really to back myself in and more communication with the team.
"We've been working on that this pre-season and it's going well."