Port Adelaide were exposed through the midfield in a 71pt loss to the Western Bulldogs in their Preliminary final, if the Power do not add senior experience through the free agency or trade period they will no doubt focus on developing their midfield from within.
Connor Rozee (Pick 5), Zak Butters (Pick 12) & Xavier Duursma (Pick 18) are often grouped together as the next generation of midfield talent at Port Adelaide after being drafted in 2018, Power senior coach Ken Hinkley reiterated on Friday a want for each to see an increase in midfield usage.
“we’d like to expose them & get them more midfield time at the right time,”
“unfortunately this year when you have 17 surgeries in-season that takes away some of your opportunity.” Ken Hinkley via 5AA.
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Before the start of the 2021 season Butters was clear on his role as a half-forward that would see midfield opportunities.
“I’m still a high half-froward that likes to get a bit more time in the midfield” Zak Butters on March 16, 2021.
He was used at 23.1% of centre bounces in the opening 4 games of the season, he then proceeded to miss the next 11 games through injury.
Connor Rozee did have an interrupted pre-season with a footy injury, he missed the start of the 2021 H&A season due to surgery.
He was used sparingly at centre bounces in 2021, he recorded centre bounce usage in 18 of 21 games (11.6% centre bounce usage in 21 games).
Xavier Duursma has been used predominately in a wing position early in his career, it is likely he remains as an outside midfielder in 2022.
FANTASY IMPACT: The one player to watch out for over the 2022 pre-season is Zak Butters, if Port Adelaide don’t add senior midfield talent over the free agency or trade period then he should be in a very good position to see a decent amount of midfield usage in 2022.
Butters averaged 74.8pts from 12 games in 2021, he recorded a season high 119pts in Round 2.
He is a consideration for season long fantasy, it is worthwhile being well ahead of others in draft & making him a priority if the increase in midfield conversation grows over summer.
There is genuine upside in Butters next season if he sees a decent increase in midfield usage.
Connor Rozee could split his forward & midfield usage with Robbie Gray, but in time Rozee is likely to see an increase in midfield usage at some stage.
Scoring will likely remain volatile until consistent midfield usage is realised for Rozee, he can score at a pretty decent clip & has a decent fantasy ceiling in optimal conditions.
The increase in fantasy output for Xavier Duursma is likely to come from an extra year of experience in the AFL system, a healthy pre-season could provide a decent return in 2022.
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Photo Credit: Port Adelaide