15/04/2024

Willem Drew speaking to media on Thursday. Picture: portadelaidefc.com.au

Saturday night will mark the 50th game for one of the AFL's most underrated players, Port Adelaide midfielder Willem Drew.

In Round 1, 2019, four Port Adelaide players made their debut as the club stunned Melbourne at the MCG.

The first three were Port’s prized first-round picks; Connor Rozee, Xavier Duursma and Zak Butters.

The third was Pick 33 from the 2016 draft who had yet to see senior action due to a torrid run with injuries, Willem Drew.

All the talk pre and post-match was about the three talented youngsters from the previous years’ draft, but the now 23-year-old more than held his own with 21 touches and five tackles.

Now, he’ll play his 50th game for Port after a lengthy journey.

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“It definitely has taken its time. I’m into my sixth year and I suppose looking back early on, I was probably questioning if I was ever gonna play game at all, let alone 50,” Drew said to media on Thursday.

“It’s something I’m definitely proud of and hopefully there’s plenty more to come.”

Drew played 10 games in 2019 before missing the entire 2020 season through injury.

Yet, he returned to the team with a bang in 2021, playing all 24 of Port’s games and has certainly found his position in the team.

“I’ve found my role in the midfield and playing alongside some great players in there with Ollie Wines and Travis Boak and learning a lot, it’s a really great place,” he said.

Throughout his career, Drew has been tasked with some shut down jobs on a number of the competition’s toughest players, and the talented midfielder has found plenty of positives out of the experiences.

“I think like Marcus Bontempelli and Patrick Cripps and people like that,” he said.

“Especially when you’re playing on them, you’ll learn a lot as well from their game and you take little things from them, and you trying to implement in your own game.

“That’s definitely a benefit of playing those players.”

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