20/04/2024

Connor Rozee has been in superb form since his move into Port's midfield. Photo via afl.com

Port Adelaide's Connor Rozee has been in great form since a move into the midfield, and it has seen the club's fortunes turn around after a sluggish start to 2022.

Port Adelaide’s Connor Rozee is in the midst of some of his best form as an AFL footballer. Since making the switch into a midfield role, the 22-year-old has put forth some breathtaking displays.

Port was 0-4 and staring down the barrel of a 49-point halftime deficit against Carlton in Round 5. Ken Hinkley’s men were just about done. Something had to change.

That change was thrusting Connor Rozee into the midfield. It produced immediate dividends as Port nearly won the unwinnable, eventually losing by a mere three points. Rozee finished with 24 disposals and a goal.

In the opening four games of the season, the livewire forward failed to get past the 16-disposal mark.

They say change is as good as a holiday.

Since that Round 5 clash, Hinkley has put his young jet into the centre square, and the performances from the fifth pick in the 2018 draft have been superb. Rozee has found plenty of the ball, registering 20 or more touches in every game since, with 31 being his best in the defeat of West Coast in Round 6.

In the last three weeks against Gold Coast, Fremantle and GWS, the 22-year-old has been scintillating. He has made the AFL world take notice. Eight goals throughout those three games were accompanied by disposal counts of 24, 21, and 24.

Rozee learning on-the-go in midfield role

Rozee spoke to the media on Wednesday ahead of the team’s trip to Alice Springs to take on the might of Melbourne. He said that playing in the midfield has been a learning experience.

“It’s been great to be able to play a bit more consistently in the mid and learning off Trav [Boak] and Ollie [Wines],” Rozee said.

“It’s been about building my tank a bit more too. I’ve learnt a lot and am still learning.”

One of the hardest things for professional athletes to master is consistency in performance. Managing their bad days against their best days and ensuring the dip in output is low is key.

For Rozee, performing well every week is something that he prides himself on.

“I have high expectations for myself and want to perform week in and week out to the best of my ability,” Rozee said.

“I think learning off my teammates has put me in a great position to do that.”

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After 16 rounds of AFL football, Port Adelaide’s season is on life support as its failures earlier in the year has it chasing a spot inside the top eight. Currently, just one game and considerable percentage out of the eight, a clash against Melbourne looms large.

In a nearly must-win game, Rozee knows that the team’s best can match every other finals contender, and stated that the Demons present a great challenge.

“We know if we play our best game of footy we can beat anyone,” Rozee said.

“We’ve been building some good form. We’ve got a tough run home but the boys are up for it. It’s a great challenge. They’re one of the best and have been for a couple years now. I can’t wait to get out there and challenge myself against the best.”

Ken Hinkley’s men will return to Alice Springs for the first time since 2016, but the ground should hold no fears for Port Adelaide, as it is 3-0 in it’s last three games played at Traeger Park against Melbourne.

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