After two successive seasons of preliminary final appearances, season 2022 didn't go according to plan for Port Adelaide. Marred by an 0-5 start, the Power were left to play catchup, and eventually their finals hopes diminished at the hands of Richmond in Round 21.
Despite not exceeding lofty expectations, there was a definitive promise with young stars making the next leap, including Connor Rozee who went on to make his maiden All-Australian appearance, Sam Powell-Pepper in his hybrid role as a forward/midfielder, and Todd Marshall coming of age as a young key forward.
With the pressure cooker firmly on coach Ken Hinkley as he enters his 11th season in charge, the Power hope to avoid last season's shaky start to get on the right note this Saturday against premiership contenders Brisbane at Adelaide Oval.
Here are five burning questions surrounding Port Adelaide's hopes in 2023.
1. Will prized additions turn the Power into a contender?
Jason Horne-Francis' first year in the AFL system was well documented and at times highly scrutinised. The 2022 number pick one showed flashes of his true potential in an otherwise miserable campaign for North Melbourne.
Fast forward five months since his trade request back home to South Australia, and the 19-year-old is primed for an excellent campaign after impressing in the practice matches against West Coast and Fremantle.
In those two practice games, Horne-Francis didn't miss a beat. Even at the age of 19, the 185cm midfielder has already added another level of grunt in the middle, alleviating the pressure of battle-hardened veterans Travis Boak and Ollie Wines.
Now with a clean slate, Horne-Francis is ready to take on the mantle as a leader among the Power's young midfield.
Robbie Gray's retirement at the end of last season left a gaping hole in its small forward stocks. One of the club's all-time greats, his presence and ice-cool demeanour in pressure situations is going to be missed. But acquiring West Coast 2018 Premiership player Junior Rioli will fill the void.
His obvious craft as a small forward is apparent, possessing tremendous tackling pressure, and crafting wizardry goals. Although he has not kicked more than 30 goals in a season, 2023 potentially is the year he can surpass that mark in a side that usually generates quick ball movement into their forward 50.