SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 10: Callum Mills of the Swans looks upfield during the round eight AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the Essendon Bombers at the Sydney Cricket Ground on May 10, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Port Adelaide are coming off a strong yet disappointing season following another top four finish, but two years in a row they have failed to get over the preliminary final hurdle to make the big dance.

The Power boast a strong and deep squad that is still capable of winning a premiership with the talent that they have, but another star may be able to take them to the promise land.

In the past couple of years, Port have been hard to beat throughout the regular season, and Ken Hinkley has them playing a nice brand which is exciting to watch.

AFL Rd 11 - Port Adelaide v Richmond
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 08: Ollie Wines ,Scott Lycett and Tom Jonas of Port Adelaide lead their team onto the ground during the round 11 AFL match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Richmond Tigers at Adelaide Oval on August 08, 2020 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

Whilst unlucky to miss out on the Grand Final in 2020 with a narrow six-point loss in the preliminary final to the eventual premiers in Richmond, no excuses can be made for their horrendous performance against the Western Bulldogs in this year's preliminary final.

A 71-point trashing at Port's home ground was as surprising as ever, with the Power not looking mentally ready, being down by 37 points at quarter time and failing to improve from there.

Hinkley will hope that it doesn't scar the playing group heading into 2022, but which star recruit would take their already talented squad to the next level?

SEE ALSO:
If your team could steal one player: Adelaide Crows
If your team could steal one player: Brisbane Lions
If your team could steal one player: Carlton Blues
If your team could steal one player: Collingwood Magpies
If your team could steal one player: Essendon Bombers
If your team could steal one player: Fremantle Dockers
If your team could steal one player: Geelong Cats
If your team could steal one player: Gold Coast Suns
If your team could steal one player: GWS Giants
If your team could steal one player: Hawthorn Hawks
- 
If your team could steal one player: Melbourne Demons
- If your team could steal one player: North Melbourne Kangaroos

Gaps in best 22

While there isn't an obvious weakness in Port's side, they could do with another ruckman, as Scott Lycett is forced to do majority of the ruck work, and at 29 years of age it's a tough burden to handle.

Port's main backup ruckman was Peter Ladhams, but he has moved on to the Sydney Swans and Hinkley would prefer his plethora of key forwards to be crashing packs rather than contesting hit-outs.

Whilst Lycett is a talented ruckman, a star ruckman would complement their stunning midfield ensemble in Ollie Wines and Travis Boak nicely.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 23: Robbie Gray of the Power (L) celebrates the win with Travis Boak of the Power after winning his 200th match during the round one AFL match between the Melbourne Demons and the Port Adelaide Power at Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 23, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

If anything, Port could do with another inside midfielder.

The Power were demolished by a deficit of 30 contested possessions in the preliminary final loss to the Bulldogs, and that was where the game was mainly lost as they couldn't get the ball moving forward.

Another big body to complement Wines and Boak, whilst having nice outside midfielders and wingmen such as Karl Amon, Xavier Duursma, Zak Butters and Dan Houston would make them a formidable lineup in 2022.

Youthful and ready-made players, regardless of position, are what the Power could afford to gain in order to prolong their premiership window.

Options to steal

Option 1: Brodie Grundy

Grundy is still one of the premier ruckmen in the competition, and hailing from South Australia, it would be a handy homecoming that would further bolster the Power to new heights.

The SA native had somewhat of a down year last season, but still averaged 19.1 disposals and 32.4 hitouts per game, which are elite numbers, whilst Lycett averaged 14.8 disposals and 26 hit-outs per game.

At 27 years of age, Grundy still has plenty to give and is still in his prime. If the Magpies star could return to the form he had in 2018 and 2019 as an All-Australian ruckman, then the Power would become extremely hard to beat in 2022.

Option 2: Jack Steele

Steele has turned into one of the star midfielders of the competition, and his leadership and competitiveness would inspire his teammates and lift the Power to new heights and be able to perform in big finals.

The tough inside midfielder averaged a career-high 29.1 disposals and 8.4 tackles per game, and would work well with the likes of Wines and Boak to produce a tough unit in the engine room and look to solve the issue of contested possessions in big finals.

The Power are usually rock solid at the coalface, but it alluded them greatly in a big final, so they may look to add players who can stamp out the though of it happening again, and adding Steele to the team would make their premiership credentials extremely strong heading into next season.

Option 3: Sam Taylor

Taylor is a promising, young key defender who has locked up some of the best key forwards in the league, such as Tom Hawkins and Tom Lynch.

The GWS defender would be a nice player to act as a protege to Tom Jonas, who will turn 31 next year to enter the twilight of his career.

At 22 years of age, Taylor averaged 14.4 disposals and 6.1 marks per game, and will only improve in the years to come.

Jonas is still a more than capable defender and is the captain of the club, but Taylor coming in would help prolong Port's premiership window in adding to the likes of Aliir Aliir, Dan Houston, Darcy Byrne-Jones and Josh Sinn holding down the defence, as Jonas comes to the back end of his career.

Option 4: Callum Mills

Mills is a hybrid player that can play across multiple positions and would fit in nicely for what Ken Hinkley wants from his side.

Started out as a defender but has more recently moved into the midfield, averaging a career-high 26.1 disposals this season for the Swans.

Can play more of a defensive role in the midfield, running with the opposition's best midfielder whilst Wines and Boak attack the contest. Conversely, Mills could play more of an attacking role if Wines or Boak are gaining some attention themselves.

With the addition of a player with a skill set such as Mills, the Power would benefit greatly with his flexibility to play in the engine room but also help out down back. He is a quality option if the Power could steal a player.

Verdict

Jack Steele is the man that could make the most difference for the Power at the present time.

Port would want a ready-made star to add to their already deep and talented list, and Steele would fit seamlessly into the engine room.

Brodie Grundy was close to getting the nod, but Scott Lycett is still a more than capable ruckman who connects well with his midfielders and would especially link up effortlessly with Steele, who knows how to find the footy.

HOBART, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 22: Jack Steele of the Saints leads the team out during the 2021 AFL Round 23 match between the St Kilda Saints and the Fremantle Dockers at Blundstone Arena on August 22, 2021 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Grant Viney/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

The 27-year old brings a hard-nosed and tough playing style that would fit perfectly under Hinkley's system.

Steele would likely slot straight into the Power leadership group, judging by the qualities that he has displayed since captaining the Saints.

The addition of Steele would potentially make Port as good as any rival, and a premiership would be close to fulfilment for Hinkley's side.