Port Adelaide recruit Francis Evans has spoken on the decision to pursue a move to South Australia this off-season following his axing from Geelong.
Evans was among a quintet of Cats cut by the Kardinia Park club just days after claiming the 2022 premiership, with Evans joined by Quinton Narkle, Paul Tsapatolis, Zane Williams and Nick Stevens in not being offered a new deal for this year.
The former Brunswick forward would be the only player of the five delisted Geelong players to earn a lifeline, joining the Power as a delisted free agent in November following ongoing interest from the SA club.
Evans himself was surprised by the outcome of the move, revealing "it all happened pretty quickly" when he began to assess his options at the latter end of last season.
“I would have told them that they were kidding themselves probably,” Evans told News Corp when asked if he'd have been told he'd be playing for Port Adelaide earlier this year.
“It all happened pretty quickly, they got in contact towards the end of the season and it happened quickly.
“It was a little bit of shock, you do start to weigh everything up.
“I didn't really start to think about it until Port approached me and from there it was within a fortnight that I decided that the Cats are going pretty well and I'm not in the team and their team might not really change next year or the year after.
“So I decided to look down different avenues and Port were really keen.”
Evans was among a trio of signings for Port Adelaide ahead of the draft, with 2021 No.1 pick Jason Horne-Francis and premiership Eagles forward Junior Rioli heading to Alberton through a four-club trade in October.
All three recruits are likely to spend time in Ken Hinkley's forward third as they look to earn appearances early into 2023m with Rioli and Evans to compete for small forward spots at AFL level.
After losing Robbie Gray and Steven Motlop to retirement, the duo, along with Orazio Fantasia and Jed McEntee, will conjure healthy competition come selection.
“A few great players have left but last season they also had injuries in their team,” Evans said.
“They have brought in Junior who is a star and Orazio is flying at the moment and is looking really good which is great after the year he had.
“And even Jed McEntee is another one who got games last year so there is a lot of healthy competition for spots.
“So I think it is looking pretty promising... my aim is to be in the 22 for the entire year."
Evans played seven matches for the Cats after joining Geelong through the 2019 National Draft, with his last appearance coming in Round 14 last year against the Eagles.
He would struggle to cement a place under Chris Scott given the star-studded gun forward pack of premiership trio Tyson Stengle, Bradley Close and Gryan Miers.
Evans could make his Port Adelaide debut in Round 1 against Brisbane should he impress over the course of the pre-season, while a matchup with his old club Geelong could come in Round 15 when the Cats travel to Adelaide Oval.