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Rising Port Adelaide star Sam Powell-Pepper

AFL season preview: Port Adelaide

Port Adelaide took fifth spot last season without doing an awful lot to show that they were premiership threats.

But the rise of several key players and some astute recruiting has the 'other' Adelaide side poised to do real damage in 2018.

There are few, if any, other AFL clubs that are as well-rounded as Port who have strength in every position across the park.

Securing Brisbane star Tom Rockliff gives the club major impact up front and in the midfield, the arrival of Jack Watts and Dom Barry from Melbourne, Trent McKenzie from the Suns, Steven Motlop from Geelong and even Lyndsey Thomas from North Melbourne give Port many more arrows to fire in 2018.

Add these to likes of Travis Boak, Chad Wingard, Olly Wines, Jared Polec, Jimmy Toumpas, Robbie and Sam Gray - the list goes on.

Port Adelaide have put together a monster of a squad and if they can gel properly, this is a squad that could easily emerge on top of a congested pack in the top eight.

The key player for Port Adelaide

It is hard to single one man out in such a strong roster, but this season could be the making of big-bodied midfielder Sam Powell-Pepper.

The young bull from Western Australia showed his power on debut last season and went on to play 22 games.

Already, he is drawing comparisons to premiership winner and Brownlow Medalist Dustin Martin and his potential is 'frightening', according to retired great Kane Cornes.

He averaged 17 disposals and five tackles a game in his debut season and should up the ante again this time around.

Needs to lift

Forward Charlie Dixon was an untapped bottle of potential in his time at the Gold Coast, but is finally showing he can be the goal-scoring threat many tipped him to be at Port Adelaide.

Former St Kilda star Leigh Montagna has tipped the 27-year-old to stun the competition and claim this year’s Coleman Medal as leading goal-scorer.

It would appear the only threat to Dixon achieving greatness is himself. 

The new recruit

Plenty to choose from here, but Tom Rockliff is the prize recruit. 

We are yet to see what he can do, with a knee complaint scrubbing the former Brisbane star out of the preseason fixtures.

His versatility will allow the club to rotate him from the centre square to the inside 50 as required, giving Port Adelaide a very high profile utility to compliment their existing stocks.

The x-factor

Jack Watts has apparently earned the nickname ‘The Difference’ in the offseason.

The biggest boot at the club - off both boots - has the polish and power to lift Port Adelaide from fifth to first.

It also takes the pressure off Dixon and allows both to operate in tandem, a scary prospect.

He was punted from Melbourne over concerns over his toughness, so if he can find some mongrel here it will go a long way towards earning Port Adelaide a flag.

Ins: Dom Barry, Kane Farrell, Joel Garner, Sam Hayes, Trent McKenzie, Steven Motlop, Jake Patmore, Tom Rockliff, Lindsay Thomas, Jack Watts

Outs: Brendon Ah Chee, Logan Austin, Jarman Impey, Matthew Lobbe, Angus Monfries, Jackson Trengove, Aaron Young

Predicted finish: 1st

About the Author Josh Alston

Josh Alston is a hack with over 12 years industry experience, covering sport across all codes for newspapers and online agencies. Known to frequent grade matches because of their cheap tinnies. Eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Masters in sitting on the hill when the local cricket side was playing. Softball premiership winner, rugby league legend in Year 10 and no stranger to Doomben Racecourse.

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