LACHIE Jones made an instant impact as a defender in his debut season with Port Adelaide but midfield coach Brett Montgomery is eyeing the powerfully built youngster as a potential midfielder.
The mullet-haired Academy product showed glimpses of his potential playing off half-back in his debut season last year, including a 17-disposal, six-mark debut against Richmond in round four and finished with six games for the season.
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Montgomery told reporters on Wednesday that he was looking far and wide in Port's list to add depth to the midfield rotations.
Along with Jones, Montgomery also said Jackson Mead and Miles Bergman loomed as candidates for more midfield time in 2022.
"They come in with some prior learning and some prior experiences in a position because they've been a good player for a long time as a kid, but they're just traits when they get here that can be applied to any area," he said.
"So if I talk Lachie specifically, I've got no doubt that with some experience, some education and some exposure, I think Lachie Jones could make it in any area.
"I've got a keen eye on him for the midfield. I think he'll get his first start as a defender just because that's probably a bit fairer on him but like I said about those other young guys; why put a ceiling on these guys who have got exceptional talent?"
Montgomery says there are a host of others pushing for a spot in the middle, to join Brownlow medallist Ollie Wines and star veterans Travis Boak and Robbie Gray, along with new mainstays Willem Drew and Karl Amon.
"Apart from those obvious guys that everyone loves to talk about, me included, in Xavier (Duursma), Connor (Rozee) and 'Buttsy' (Zak Butters), there's some young talent that hasn't had the looks that perhaps they've deserved … Jed McEntee is another one that might get some time as well and then some newer players as well that we got into the club like Josh Sinn," Montgomery said.
"It's really exciting with the stocks. We've got to make sure they're ready. We don't want to displace any of the older players who have got all the runs on the board just for the sake of it but we think there is some merit in improving and in growing that group and making sure we can spread some load."
Port Adelaide is near full-strength at training with nearly the entire squad available.
Montgomery said Orazio Fantasia and Trent Dumont continued to have their loads managed and Bergman (shoulder) and Hugh Jackson (hip) were each continuing their rehabilitation following surgery.
He said it would be exciting to have Kane Farrell joining in on some drills in the next fortnight as the forward/wingman ramps up his return from a ruptured ACL.
- with portadelaidefc.com.au