ORAZIO Fantasia is ready to perform against former club Essendon and has the temperament to handle whatever the Bombers throw at him, according to long-time coach and mentor Nathan Bassett.
Fantasia starred in his first game for the Power last Sunday and Bassett said he was primed to produce the best football of his career after booting 4.4 and registering an equal game-high 12 score involvements against North Melbourne.
It was reward for a strong pre-season in which the skilful forward made an instant impact at his new club, finding his voice as a leader, sharing his knowledge with younger forwards including Zak Butters, and earning respect for his work ethic.
Bassett, who coached Fantasia as an under-16s player at SANFL club Norwood, then at Essendon and is now the 26-year-old's forward-line coach, said the creative goalkicker was ready to face his former club.
"He'll want to play good footy and he's got some really good players around him. They're going to help him and the relationships he's built so far are strong, because the guys see how much he wants Port to be good," Bassett told AFL.com.au.
"I know they'll look after him if he needs looking after."
Bassett echoed the sentiments of coach Ken Hinkley, who said he did not need to remind his team to be there for the Adelaide-born Fantasia, who left the Bombers after 80 games in seven seasons.
"I don't have to say anything. They will look after him," Hinkley said on Friday.
"He is part of us. We talk about bond and the connection we have as a group, and Orazio is part of that bond and connection.
"I'm sure they won't want him to do well and we do want him to do well, so it will be an interesting outcome."
Bassett has as good an understanding of what makes Fantasia tick as any coach, having watched him grow from a 49kg junior at Norwood to a quality AFL small forward.
As the Redlegs' league coach in 2011, Bassett was impressed by the young Fantasia's work ethic and commitment to adding size at such a young age.
"He hired one of the players to be his personal trainer. That said he was ambitious and he wanted to be the best he could be," Bassett said.
"As a player he could go forward and take people on and he had that courage that makes you a little bit scared at times given the size of him.
"You give those guys every chance you can."
Bassett didn't feel confident selecting Fantasia in the Norwood league side until he reached 65kg, giving the teenager a goal to strive towards, eventually breaking into the team and hitting 66kg.
The work ethic and focus on physical preparation was a constant theme at Essendon as well and has now impressed many at Port Adelaide.
Listed at 74kg, he is still among the lightest players on the Power list, and some Power staff were caught off guard by his size.
But that will not be a hurdle for the former Bomber, with Bassett "absolutely" confident Fantasia would play the best football of his career now he was home in South Australia.
"He's only 26 and he's got a good five or six years where he's going to have those fast twitch fibres in his legs," Bassett said. "Hopefully he'll be able to turn it on in a few more games like did last week."