Port Adelaide’s off-season moves have paid immediate dividends with Orazio Fantasia and Aliir Aliir impressing in a 52-point demolition of North Melbourne in round one.
Moving from Essendon in the trade period, Fantasia took no time get amongst the goals, slotting three of his four majors in the opening half. He could have capitalised on further opportunities but ended the game with four behinds as well in a brilliant small forward display.
Speaking on Fantasia coming up against his old side next week, Port coach Ken Hinkley was bullish about the goal sneak continuing to put his best foot forward.
“He’s very happy [being back in Adelaide], he’s emotionally very happy and physically he’s showing he’s in good shape,” he said.
“His next job is to play well for us next week. There will be challenges and he can’t hide from the fact that he’s playing against his old club… but next week his time is going to be spent with Port Adelaide, and hopefully beating Essendon.”
Aliir Aliir proved to be a brick wall against North, recording nine intercept possessions and containing Nick Larkey with the North talisman only recording seven touches and no shots at goal for the day.
Hinkley is still confident Aliir’s best is yet to come after a display in which the key defender only came off for a spell in the fourth quarter when the game was won.
“We think he improves us [down back], his intercept stuff he does,” he said.
“He didn’t have his best game in the air today, but his last game for us he was amazing and he didn’t quite have that today.
“He seems to be in the right spots regularly for us and he’s learned our style of play and system, behind the footy pretty quickly. He’s an intercept defender and we’re not going to discourage him from him wanting to be that player along with Houston and Burton.”
Coming off a career best season in which he finished second in the Brownlow Medal, former captain Travis Boak left off where he started with a best on ground display including 27 touches and two goals.
“Yeah he was on track early wasn’t he”, Hinkley grinned.
“He’s 33 [years of age], he doesn’t look like it”.
Riley Bonner was the one injury out of the Port camp, with scans on his injured hamstring to come back in the next few days.
The flag contenders are set to welcome star Connor Rozee back into the side next week after surgery on a lingering foot issue two weeks ago.
“It’s fair to say I’m pretty excited about welcoming Connor Rozee back into our team. He adds a bit”.
Overall, Hinkley was impressed with his side’s professional display after several upset victories in round one on Saturday.
“Just really pleased we were able to travel, and come away with the points”.
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