JACKSON MEAD missed 12 weeks of footy in 2021 after a spleen rupture so he is wasting no time in making his intentions for 2022 known.

Mead featured in Port Adelaide’s pre-season game against Adelaide and was knocking on the door of an AFL debut before suffering the bizarre injury, which kept him out of the game for much of the campaign.

Among more than 25 players on hand for the first day of pre-season training, the 20-year-old has set a goal to break into the Port Adelaide midfield and stay there.

“I want to be a player that can play alongside Trav (Boak) and Ollie (Wines) and that’s why I’m here,” Mead said during a press conference on Monday.

“I want to take my game to the next level and play AFL this year and for the next few years going forward.

“I want to take my fitness to another level. That’s one thing Ken wanted me to do so I’ve been working on that since the off-season.

“I’ve had a strong few weeks of running – about 10 weeks – and along with getting more consistency in my game to take it to another level.”

06:19 Mins
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Jackson Mead press conference - 29 November 2021 | PTV

Jackson Mead speaks to the media at Alberton Oval

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Mead bobbed up at half back while playing in the SANFL late in the 2021 season but he insists that move was short lived.

“I’ll be a midfielder/forward. I played the last two games around half back as more of a change up to see how I’d go because we weren’t probably going to be playing finals in the Magpies so we said why not try it out, but I think Ken still wants me to be a midfielder/forward,” Mead explained.

“I want to play as many games as I can but I’m focussing on this little period before Christmas and then next year will take care of itself.

“It’s just learning as much as I can and trying to impress on the training track. I’m just taking it session by session and trying to impress the coaches and my teammates.”

The son of the inaugural Power best and fairest, Mead is entering his third pre-season and was impressed to see the club’s two oldest players Robbie Gray and Travis Boak among the more experienced players to join in with the 1–4-year players.

New draftees Josh Sinn, Hugh Jackson, Dante Visentini and Jase Burgoyne as well as former North Melbourne midfielder Trent Dumont and former Brisbane and South Adelaide defender Sam Skinner were on the track for their first session in their new colours, and Mead liked what he saw.

“They had a really good session,” he said. “They were in and out of a few drills and a bit of the running but I think they’d be pretty happy with their first session.

“(Josh Sinn) is rapid. He’s a pick 12 so he’ll slot in nicely to that half back, wing role and he’s a nice left footer so I’m looking forward to adding that to the team.

“We’ve only been talking for a little bit but they’re all really good blokes. I’m sure they’ll blossom in the next few weeks and come out of their shell and thrive in the environment.

“Our young group is growing larger so it’ll be pretty competitive... over the next few weeks so no doubt there’ll be a bit of biff going on.”

The rest of Port Adelaide’s squad will return to Alberton for pre-season training next week.