20/04/2024

Can Francis Evans add an extra layer to Port Adelaide's forward line? (Photo: AFL; Design: Will Cuckson)

Port Adelaide secured the services of young small forward talent Francis Evans just hours into the opening day of the AFL delisted free agency period. Has it filled a void in its small forward department?

After getting the news that he’ll be delisted days after Geelong’s triumph in the 2022 Grand Final, Evans has found his new home at Alberton. The 21-year-old only playing seven games in his time at the Cats, and will be looking to grab hold of his second opportunity with Port.

With Robbie Gray and Steven Motlop retired, Orazio Fantasia recovering from injuries and Connor Rozee and Zak Butters moving into midfield roles, Port Adelaide identified a need to bolster its small forward stocks. What can Port fans expect their new signing bring to the table?

Securing the services of Evans was a priority for Port Adelaide’s small forward department. In an area in which they lack depth, the strongly built young forward kicked 30.19 goals in the 2022 VFL season.

He’s a crafty player who works hard around the ball inside 50 and has the goal sense, temperament and work ethic to become a quality AFL player – all he simply needs is an opportunity.

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The 21-year-old, drafted to Geelong with pick 41, had very limited opportunities at the Cattery. Fighting in the same position as Tyson Stengle, Gryan Miers, Brad Close and Gary Rohan, there were too many in the position ahead of him.

Debuting for Geelong in 2021 against Brisbane, Evans enlightened the AFL world on what he was capable of, kicking two goals and showing plenty of promise.

Evans has shown he can be versatile and move up the ground averaging 16.5 disposals in his 16 VFL games in 2022, something Port Adelaide can explore if the opportunities arise.

There is always a battle for spots at every club, and with Port Adelaide identifying a key area in which it lacks, a case is definitely built for Evans to cement a spot in the best 22.

Ken Hinkley will be keen to utilise his new recruits in the off-season with Evans joining Jason Horne-Francis and Junior Rioli so far this off-season.

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