There have been many memorable draft picks over the years, with some of the AFL’s most notable stars having once been identified by eagle-eyed recruiters and given a chance to make an impression on the biggest stage. However, Port Adelaide Power simply have to be applauded for their savvy recruitment in this season’s draft. The Magpies acquired Connor Rozee, Zak Butters and Xavier Duursma ahead of the 2019 season, and all three have made significant contributions during the opening couple of months.
— Jack Hudson (@jhudson_10) April 26, 2019
The Power certainly did their research, with this particular triumvirate of talent carefully chosen by the club’s national recruiting manager, Geoff Parker. He told reporters that his team identified this particular crop of young stars as being “very talented”, and they moved swiftly to ensure they could maximise their picks in the first round. He later added that he is extremely confident that all three newcomers will be “very important contributors for our club for many years to come”.
They remain the only club to have fielded all three of their picks in each of their opening six games, and it appears that they are highly unlikely to be displaced anytime soon. Heading into round 7, they can boast a 4-2 record, and although their games have been relatively low-scoring, they’ve been able to largely control the game in midfield.
Connor Rozee, who was pick 5 overall, has put in a number of eye-catching performances so far, and has already been nominated for the AFL’s Rising Star. When asked about his teammate, Power skipper Tylor Walker told reporters that he should be leading the Rising Star “by an absolute country mile”. He’s completed 104 disposals during his first six outings, and kicked nine goals. His speed is his biggest asset, and he is certainly full of zest and youthful energy.
Rozee is joined by Zak Butters, and the pair have helped the Power to put their relatively underwhelming 2018 campaign firmly behind them. They are currently 4.25 to finish in the top four this season, although the $1.60 available in the latest Aussie Rules betting for them to end the campaign in the top eight looks a more realistic option.
— PowerFromPort (@PowerFromPort) November 24, 2018
They play a fast attacking style, and it has already caught a number of opponents by surprise during the early stages of the season.
Xavier Duursman has also been nominated for the Rising Star, and a combination of speed and endurance have helped him catch the eye over the last couple of months. He is a very consistent performer, and recorded 24 disposals against North Melbourne on April 26th. His memorable goal celebrations have also ensured that he has quickly become a firm fan favourite at the Marvel Stadium, and supporters are likely to see plenty more of his dance moves throughout the remainder of 2019.
It may still be early days, but Port Adelaide Power appear to be one of the most exciting sides in the AFL this year, and their youthful recruits have certainly helped add some much-needed zip and creativity to their play. It highlights the importance of doing your homework and having a recruitment team who can help identify and land number one targets in the draft. Many sides will be hoping to follow suit ahead of next season’s draft, and the Power have certainly set the perfect blueprint on how to truly maximise your picks.