25/04/2024
Ivan Soldo impressed in Port's intraclub. Picture: Matt Sampson/Port Adelaide

Ivan Soldo impressed in Port's intraclub. Picture: Matt Sampson/Port Adelaide

Port Adelaide hosted its intraclub trial match at Alberton Oval, with new recruits Brandon Zerk-Thatcher, Ivan Soldo, Jordon Sweet and Esava Ratugolea in action.

Ollie Wines has returned to centre bounces, while new captain Connor Rozee looked at home in the number one jumper for the first time.

Jeremy Finlayson, Trent McKenzie and Aliir Aliir all missed, but are expected to play in the Power’s trial against Adelaide next Friday night.

Here’s what we noticed from Port’s intraclub.

NEW RECRUITS

The four new recruits are the names on everyone’s lips down at Alberton.

Ratugolea was tasked with manning Charlie Dixon, while the new ruck duo Soldo and Sweet faced off in the midfield.

From the get go, the former Cat looked comfortable on the Power’s hulking forward, getting a strong block and contested mark early in the first.

However, his game was interrupted as he received treatment on the bench during the second term.

He was ruled out with some minor knee soreness, but is expected to play next week against the Crows.

Zerk-Thatcher was also on the receiving end of some physicality, with his fellow recruit Soldo testing him out during a contest.

The former Bomber looked at home in the Port defence, nabbing some intercept marks.

Port fans can be buoyed by the performance from Soldo.

His around the ground work and physical presence showed why he’s likely to be the number one at Alberton.

After winning the initial tap, he would be on the receiving end of the clearance from Ollie Wines, but would miss the set shot.

Tackling presence was obvious as well, with Wines switching sides, Soldo pinged him, which earned plenty of admirers.

While Soldo was one of the best on the day, Sweet’s performance was adequate.

The former Bulldog competed well and kicked a major after receiving a free kick.

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THE RUCK BATTLE

While the aforementioned Soldo and Sweet were the main focus in the ruck battle, the surviving member of Port’s 2023 ruck class was also serviceable.

Dante Visentini more than held his own against the two more experienced big men.

The youngster, who made his debut in a mad rush last year, showed the ruck depth at Alberton is much improved from last season.

Could Port play with both Soldo and Sweet? With Dixon, Todd Marshall, Jeremy Finlayson, Ollie Lord and Mitch Georgiades all competing for spots, it could happen but looms unlikely.

Key forwards Tom Scully and Lord also had stints in the ruck.

FORGOTTEN FACES

Some names which could be treated as new recruits also made their return during the intraclub.

Tom Clurey who missed 2023 with injury looked solid down back before a quick stint on the wing did occur.

Former first-round draft pick Josh Sinn had plenty of the ball and his left-footed run and carry was looking good as players look to gun for Xavier Duursma’s old wing position.

Georgiades found the goals in the first quarter, but a wayward set shot in the third quarter showed there’s still some work to do in that department.

THE MIDFIELD

Coach Ken Hinkley declared on radio ‘Ollie Wines is back’.

The 2021 Brownlow Medallist lined up in the centre square and looked right at home, winning the first clearance of the game.

Zak Butters, Connor Rozee and Jason Horne-Francis all broke away with ease at points.

The new vice-captain grew his highlight reel by taking on three and putting one through the sticks much to delight of the crowd.

A number of different faces were also experimented in the midfield, with Jed McEntee returning to the position he played at Sturt in the SANFL.

Sam Powell-Pepper also had a run in the midfield, while Jackson Mead also had an opportunity at centre bounces, rather than the half-forward role he has been familiar with at AFL level.

FANTASY AND SUPERCOACH WATCH

You might’ve heard it across the last two years, but Josh Sinn must be a consideration.

Sinn is priced at just $123,900 in SuperCoach and $257,000 in AFL Fantasy and after two injury interrupted seasons, needs to be considered.

Wines could be a risky point of difference selection for SuperCoach and Fantasy players, but if he’s attending more centre bounces, could return to the lofty heights he averaged in 2022 and even 2021.

With the new ruck duo, Sweet’s borderline rookie price makes him a viable bench option, while Soldo could be a respectable second ruck choice.

A once favoured Fantasy and SuperCoach son, Travis Boak, will be on the avoid list after a slower year last year and even less centre bounce attendances on the agenda this season.

THE DRAFTEES

After ‘selling the farm’ in the 2023 AFL Trade Period, Port’s draft pick arsenal was left scarce, however, they still selected three players in the national draft and one in the rookie.

Thomas Anastasopoulos, Lachie Charleson, Will Lorenz and Xavier Walsh were all shown off to Port fans for the first time.

Anastasopoulos and Charleson both ended up among the goalkickers, with the latter showing some promising signs early on.

Lorenz also had moments, including a dynamite centring kick which led to a goal and finished with his own deep in the final quarter.

THE REST

Fresh off signing a five-year contract extension, Todd Marshall had no issues in front of the big sticks, kicking three majors including a huge punt from 50 metres out.

A smaller forward, Sam Powell-Pepper had a field day finishing with a small bag of goals, including two from set shots.

Jase Burgoyne looked composed on the wing and entering forward 50, finding multiple targets.

Ryan Burton was allowed to return to his natural position of running half-back, finishing with a few inside 50s to his name.

Kane Farrell found plenty of the pill off half back, which he was joined by a new face.

Quinton Narkle warmed up with the defenders and started coming off half-back to start the game before he finished in the forward line.

Up forward, Charlie Dixon played only a half after returning from injury, while Georgiades was also managed for the final quarter.

Young forwards Ollie Lord and Tom Scully were present, Lord with his physicality and Scully on the scoreboard, kicking two tough set shots.

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