Port Adelaide recruit Ivan Soldo is a big man, standing at 204cm, leaving no surprise when people turn their heads as he walks past.

But, in his four games draped in black and teal, the 27-year-old has started to look like a bargain trade, with the Power parting ways with Picks 41, 49 and a future fourth-round while getting Pick 50 in return to secure his services.

Soldo departed Richmond during the latest trade period for more opportunities and a chance for further success, having experienced a premiership in 2019 as a second ruckman to Toby Nankervis.

Now playing with a midfield of captain Connor Rozee, reigning best and fairest Zak Butters, Brownlow Medallist Ollie Wines, young star Jason Horne-Francis and the dependable Willem Drew, Soldo will be the envy of many a ruckman this season with the engine room he will service, which was on full display during Port Adelaide's clash with Essendon during Gather Round.

Lining up against experienced duo Todd Goldstein and Sam Draper, the former Tiger displayed his rucking prowess, recording 12 hit-outs to advantage from 23 and three centre clearances to go along with his 10 disposals and a goal.

Albeit not the most glamorous stat line, Soldo was rewarded by the coaches for his dominance, receiving six votes (three from both) for his performance.

Taking a broader look at Soldo's impressive start at the Power, it'd be wise to compare him among the game's best and recent All-Australian ruckman.

2024 (R0-4) Ivan Soldo (PORT) Brodie Grundy (SYD) Max Gawn (MELB) Tim English (WB)
Ruck Contests (avg) 64 66.2 78.8 68
Hit-outs to Adv (avg) 9.8 8.6 11.4 11.5
Hit-out win % 39.50% 41.40% 47% 39.70%
Clearances (avg) 4.8 6 4.6 3.5
Centre Clearances (avg) 2.8 2.4 2 2
Goals (total) 4 0 1 2
GA (total) 3 3 2 3
Score Involvements 28 31 32 24
Score Launches 20 20 17 14


As a result of Soldo's influence, the Power have soared to the top of the competition in total clearances (39.3 per game) and centre clearances (16), with the latter being one of the more damning stats in modern football.

Champion Data consolidated Port Adelaide's midfield dominance further, by indicating a clearance differential of +7.2 per game, exceeding anyone else in the competition, while a centre clearance differential of +5.0 doubles the next best.

This in turn leads to a high inside 50 count (62.3 per game), with Ken Hinkley's men joining the Giants atop of the League and therefore more opportunities to score, slotting 16 goals per outing.

And as we can see, it starts a chain reaction.

Admittedly, Soldo's inclusion to the side isn't the entire reason for the early season supremacy in this area of the ground.

Rozee, Butters and Horne-Francis are the second (17.7 rating points) most dominant midfield trio in the AFL, behind Sydney's Isaac Heeney, Chad Warner and Errol Gulden (19).

The trifecta of young stars is supported by Drew, Travis Boak and Wines, proving to be a perfect blend of youth and experience in the side.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 05: Connor Rozee (left) and Jeremy Finlayson of the Power celebrate during the 2024 AFL Round 04 match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Essendon Bombers at Adelaide Oval on April 05, 2024 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

The beginning of 2024 has been near faultless by the Power, with the only blemish coming from the seven-point loss to Melbourne.

Despite leading all key statistical indicators of a match-winning performance, Hinkley's team were unable to get over the line.

Back on the winner's list after dismantling Essendon on Adelaide Oval didn't prove to be the task most pundits had in mind, while an upcoming tough road ahead awaits.

Fremantle (home), Collingwood (away), St Kilda (home), Adelaide (away) and Geelong (away) will take Port Adelaide up until Round 9.

If the Power can walk away with at least three wins across this next stretch, safe to say they'll be right in the hunt for a top-four finish.