SAM Powell-Pepper is in a good spot in life and football - and he was not alone on Thursday while surrounded by hundreds of fellow Indigenous would-be AFL/AFLW stars on Karen Rolton Oval in the city.

Although there was a touch of envy from the Port Adelaide half-forward - and eager back-up ruckman - as he watched the next generation kick the morning rain off the parkland grounds for the start of the Santos Aboriginal Power Cup carnival.

"I didn't have something like this (while growing up in Perth)," said Powell-Pepper as he was joined by Indigenous team-mates Jeremy Finlayson, Steven Motlop and Lachie Jones at Thursday's launch that also was attended by the new State Premier Peter Malinauskas.

Jones is a graduate of the Santos Aboriginal Power Cup.

"There is nothing else like this in Australia," added Powell-Pepper.

The 15th rendition of the program with 550 students enrolled rewards scholastic achievements with the joy of playing football. Most notable is how 96 per cent of these students complete their Year 12 education.

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Santos Aboriginal Power Cup press conference - 26 May 2022 | PTV

Aboriginal Programs Manager, Braedon Talbot and Sam Powell-Pepper speak to the media at the Santos Aboriginal Power Cup.

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"I am very proud of the club; Port Adelaide has put so much time into their Indigenous program," Powell-Pepper said. "The kids really get a lot out of it. And they learn a lot about their culture which is important. It is so important.

"Some do not find out until a little later in life (of their Indigenous roots) - of where they are from and of their people. Thankfully for me, in Perth I had good support.

"But something like this (carnival) would have been unreal to have been a part of.

"Lachie Jones has. He has designed the Indigenous jumper (that Port Adelaide will wear again this week for the second part of the Sir Doug Nicholls Round). He is proud of that as well - and he loves coming back to these days. He has worked his way up through the ranks and he has loved every minute of it."

Port Adelaide's preparation for a must-win home clash with Essendon - that will close this year's AFL Indigenous Round - will draw focus to team selection with a preliminary squad on Thursday night.

In 2022, 550 students enrolled in the program, which has been directly linked to helping achieve the Closing the Gap target of Year 12 attainment. Image: Angus Northeast.

The anticipated return of All-Australian key forward Charlie Dixon for his first AFL match this season will have Powell-Pepper working in a new-look attack - and possibly standing down as a ruckman. Not that Powell-Pepper is willingly forfeiting that surprise role.

"Hopefully (I keep the ruck role); I don't mind it in the ruck," said Powell-Pepper who has duelled with some of the AFL's master ruckmen such as Todd Goldstein at North Melbourne and former team-mate Patrick Ryder at St Kilda.

"It is fun ...we will see what Ken (Hinkley) has in store.

"When Ken tapped me on the shoulder to say I would be playing ruck I did not take it too seriously. And then the day before the game he brought it up again. So I've taken it on and I feel I've played alright each time I have gone in there. It is pretty fun."

However, Port Adelaide restructures its attack for Dixon's return, there will be renewed energy from the players - such as Powell-Pepper - linking the play to the goalfront.

"It is always good having Charlie in the side," Powell-Pepper said. "He is such a big part of our team. We love having him out there. He has worked really hard to get back to full health. It will be very nice to run out there with him on Sunday.

"I pride myself on trying to get the ball to him so that he is marking or bringing it to ground. You definitely play with a bit more confidence when you have Charlie in the side.

"We do rely on Charlie a lot, but we also have three other tall forwards (Finlayson, Mitch Georgiades and Todd Marshall) - and Todd Marshall really has stood up this year. I have loved watching him grow into the player he is now."

Sam Powell-Pepper says the side is excited to once again feel the presence that key forward Charlie Dixon's brings to the game. Image: AFL Photos.

Port Adelaide needs to win - to take its season count to 5-6 and to respond to the questions left from Saturday's 35-point loss to Geelong at Kardinia Park where the challenge of winning contested football was not met.

"Obviously we did not have the result that we wanted; Geelong were the stronger side," Powell-Pepper said. "They played it more physical than us. That is what we have worked on this week.

"Geelong are a really contested side. They beat us in that aspect of the game, but we feel we are good enough and we are building nicely. That will show this Sunday.

"We are ready to go - and ready to show what did in the four (winning) weeks before that game. We're looking to be 5-6 before the (mid-season) bye."

Powell-Pepper paid tribute to senior coach Ken Hinkley and his team-mates for not becoming overwhelmed by the 0-5 start to the season.

"It is not ideal starting the season at 0-5, but we have fought back pretty well," Powell-Pepper said. "The weekend was not the best, but I feel we have set ourselves up nicely to get right back into that top-eight (calculations).

"We definitely believe. We had to stay connected at the start of the year because teams can really unravel (at 0-5). Ken was really positive and we are a strongly connected group. We believe was have plenty left in the tank - and it has shown (in the four consecutive wins).

"Ken was a big part of (the revival) with his positivity and his belief drove us."

Sunday's match is complicated by forecasts of heavy rain and strong winds. These do make conditions that suit the bullish Powell-Pepper.

"It will make for more of a contested game - and that will be the footy we will thrive in. We are looking forward to the challenge," Powell-Pepper said. "Suits me ... I can put my head over the ball and get it forward. It is my type of footy. We're keen to get going."