Aliir Aliir's game-winning spoil was the story of the round, but even with a two-win, two-loss record, Port Adelaide has defensive issues.

The Power has conceded 388 points in four rounds, the third most in the competition behind West Coast and Hawthorn.

For a team that could yet make a run into September, that is concerning.

A lack of size and poor one-on-one defending in the backline have been worrying signs for hot-seat coach Ken Hinkley.

Despite an improved performance against the Swans, captain Tom Jonas (188cm) and Aliir (194cm) have struggled to contain the game's forwards and struggle to match up on the competition's tall forward lines.

Former Sun Trent McKenzie (191cm) has stabilised that backline in two appearances (both wins) but remains a smaller key defender option.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 19: Trent McKenzie of the Power looks to kick during the round one AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Port Adelaide Power at The Gabba on March 19, 2022 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Jono Searle/AFL Photos/via Getty Images )

This issue is far from new. Picking up a tall, lock-down defender was a priority for Port Adelaide in the trade period, with the club unlucky to miss out on Geelong's Esava Ratugolea.

So, how can they make it work?

Other defensive options

The question looming over Port Adelaide's season is how they fix this gaping hole in their side now, and in the future.

Tom Clurey (193cm) and McKenzie are the tertiary key defender options for the Power but have both been struggling with form and injury in recent years.

At their best, the duo are solid contributors, but their size still leaves more to be desired if paired with Jonas and Aliir.

Jake Pasini (192cm) is one who could be in line for an AFL stint, with the 22-year-old defender impressing in the pre-season and growing SANFL form.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 06: Jake Pasini of the Power competes during a Port Power AFL training session at Alberton Oval on January 06, 2021 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

Pasini was close to a debut in 2022, before rupturing his ACL in the reserves. The Swans Districts player is a strong mark and could play an intercept role alongside Aliir and Jonas.

Dylan Williams, a small defender, impressed in his second AFL game against Sydney and could find himself at home at half-back for much of the season.

Port Adelaide's strange drafting habits

Interestingly, Port's SANFL side is full of height. Ruck stocks are saturated, with Dante Visentini, Sam Hayes, and last year's mid-season draftee Brynn Teakle all developing well.

Forwards, too, are well represented, with Tom Scully, Ollie Lord, and even the axed Mitch Georgiades appearing for the Magpies.

And then the defenders. The Power have left it late in their succession plan, picking up two key defenders in last year's draft in Tom McCallum (193cm) and Kyle Marshall (201cm).

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 03: Thomas McCallum of Allies in action during the U18 AFL Boys Championship match between the Allies and Vic Country on July 03, 2022 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/AFL Photos)

While the duo are two of Port's tallest key defenders, they're still raw with their decision-making and need to build a bigger frame before their AFL debut.

Despite his eye-catching height, Marshall was taken with the final pick of the 2022 NAB AFL Draft and looks to be a long-term project.

Could a position swap be a quick fix?

With an over-population of ruckmen, and the development of lock-down defenders a process just beginning, Port Adelaide is trialling Teakle in defence.

The Western Australian ruckman stands 204cm tall and would be an important inclusion if he can get his defensive craft right — yet, even this option seems unlikely for Port.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 18: Debutant Brynn Teakle on the bench with his arm in a sling during the 2022 AFL Round 14 match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Sydney Swans at the Adelaide Oval on June 18, 2022 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Sarah Reed/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Speaking to the media last week, assistant coach Josh Carr dispelled any hopes that Teakle could be a quick fix.

"It's something we're exploring with Brynn and obviously with a need for a tall defender," he said.

"Brynn has still got a bit of work to do to be an AFL defender but we're definitely having a look at that."

Earlier, Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes called on out-of-form forward Georgiades to make the swap to the backline after the side's disastrous loss to Collingwood in Round 2.

"I think Georgiades could be a Jeremy Howe type," Cornes said on

"He's got the athletic attributes and the one area where Port Adelaide was always underdone was their height. They're not tall enough."

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 08: Mitch Georgiades of Port Adelaide celebrates a goal during the round eight AFL match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Adelaide Crows at Adelaide Oval on May 08, 2021 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

That move is yet to eventuate, with the 21-year-old remaining a forward in both SANFL appearances.

Defensive pressure

Port Adelaide won't fix their undersized backline overnight, with the development of new defenders set to take considerable time.

In wins against Sydney and Brisbane, the Power midfield has taken the pressure off their backline, and that is the club's recipe for success.

The Power won both clearances and contested possessions in their victories, but with a young and inconsistent midfield, that won't happen every week.

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Port Adelaide currently ranks 11th for tackles per game and 14th for contested possessions.

Much of the pressure rests on the defensive efforts and ball-winning capability of the midfielders, who have exposed the backline badly, conceding the sixth most inside 50s per game.

Eyes on Gather Round

All eyes are on the midfield trio of Jason Horne-Francis, Connor Rozee, and Ollie Wines, who have a task ahead of them with the Western Bulldogs midfield.

If Port Adelaide can't get on top of the contested possession and inside 50 counts, Aliir and Jonas will be up for a massive challenge.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 04: Tom Jonas of Port Adelaide during the round 20 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the Port Adelaide Power at Adelaide Oval on August 4, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

The Dogs' forward line is full of height, with the likes of Rory Lobb (207cm), Aaron Naughton (196cm) and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (195cm) all standing taller than the Power backmen.

Gather Round will kick off at Adelaide Oval on Thursday when rivals Adelaide Crows take on an in-form Carlton, with the Power set to go head-to-head with the Dogs at the same venue on Saturday night.