16/04/2024

Sam Skinner gets another opportunity at AFL level, signing with Port Adelaide as a delisted free agent. (Image: @PAFC/Twitter)

After a dominant finish to the SANFL season in defence, Port Adelaide has signed Sam Skinner as a delisted free agent for the 2022 season.

Port Adelaide has signed Sam Skinner as a delisted free agent for the 2022 season, after an outstanding season in the SANFL.

The 24-year-old joins the Power after playing for South Adelaide in the SANFL. Skinner was previously on the Brisbane Lions’ list, taken with pick 47 in the 2015 AFL National Draft.

Skinner was unable to get a clean run at AFL level, suffering two knee reconstructions, limiting him to three games in five seasons before being delisted at the end of 2020. Skinner trained with North Melbourne ahead of the 2021 season but was unable to win a spot on the list.

What will Skinner bring to Port Adelaide?

Skinner was drafted into the AFL as a defender and unable to get into the Lions backline, they moved him up forward, an area of the ground where Skinner spent most of his time in Queensland.

Playing for the South Adelaide Panthers in the SANFL this year, Skinner started the season in the forward line, then moved to defence in the second half of the season, finishing off the season in dominant fashion.

Standing at 198cm tall, Skinner showed his ability to play forward of centre, kicking 16 goals in 21 games. He averaged 13.5 disposals and six marks per game. His best game came in defence in the Panthers’ semi-final win over Norwood, starring with 21 possessions and 13 intercept marks.

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Who is Skinner fighting for a spot with?

Skinner has shown his versatility, showing an ability to play at either end of the ground.

There isn’t any room in Port Adelaide’s forward line, with spearhead Charlie Dixon, Todd Marshall, and young gun Mitch Georgiades as the main forwards, and Port’s other acquisition this off-season Jeremy Finlayson also looking to fit in the lineup.

Jason Cripps has said that the club sees him playing a role in the backline. At 198cm, Skinner will be one of the tallest defenders on Port Adelaide’s list.

However, with Port Adelaide’s preferred back six already looking pretty settled with tall defenders Trent McKenzie and Aliir Aliir securing spots, captain Tom Jonas standing only at 188cm can play on taller opponents, and Tom Clurey already struggling to break into the line-up, it will be tough for Skinner to find a place in Ken Hinkley’s back six.

Should injury strike down any of Port’s key defenders, Skinner will provide good depth, having previously shown the ability to play behind the ball, spending last year at South Adelaide as an intercept defender. His athleticism, aggression and competitiveness will hold him in good stead to play as a key post in Port’s defensive half.

Should Skinner play, he would fit in perfectly playing on the opposition’s key forwards, continuing to allow Tom Jonas and Aliir Aliir to sag off their opponents and go for intercept marks, starting the side’s attack.

His recruitment could also be seen as an eye to the future as captain Tom Jonas will turn 31 before the start of the 2022 season and Trent McKenzie is 29-years-old, Skinner could be looked at as a replacement to one of those players and could transition into Port Adelaide defence in the next couple of years.

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