PORT ADELAIDE senior coach Ken Hinkley expects the club’s early draft selections to play senior football in 2020, on the back of what was achieved by last year’s crop.
Connor Rozee (22 games), Zak Butters (19 games) and Xavier Duursma (20 games) were a revelation for the Power in 2019, and Hinkley believes Port Adelaide fans will get to see the likes of Miles Bergman, Mitch Georgiades and Dylan Williams in the senior side at some stage this season as well.
“It’s interesting - even last year with the three boys, we didn’t expect come Christmas that they would play 60 games of football between them,” Hinkley told SEN SA’s Breakfast program on Tuesday morning.
“We know that Bergman and Georgiades can certainly play a little bit at the top end, and Williams is a little bit more of a wild card.
“You draft first-rounders knowing that they play in their first year. So, I expect all three at some stage to play.”
The senior coach said it is this stage of the year when you see the first-year players start to display their footballing abilities, but he has already been incredibly impressed with the running capability of the younger players.
“You don’t get to see much of them before Christmas, it’s now we will get to see and experience what they can do,” he said.
“Yesterday in the running stuff we saw them run unbelievably well, so that’s a great start for them.”
Hinkley said it was important to continue to improve the club’s inside 50 conversion, which has been a focal point for the recruitment team in recent years.
“We have brought some new people into our footy club over the last 18-24 months,” he said
“We have brought in some more younger players this year, who have some front-end football about them. The ones we have drafted this year have the ability forward of the footy.
“We see the improvements and hopefully the continuation of the likes of Butters, Rozee and Duursma.
“But also, my job is to make sure we can get the best out of our older boys, and they are capable of leading them really well and strongly still.”
The 53-year-old is extremely happy with how his side returned after the Christmas break, but understands that won’t necessarily result in wins come the season.
“We all know and we all understand - and I’m not delusional - the pressure of pre-season is pretty low,” he said.
“It starts to build from now. You have to make the most of that first six weeks after Christmas.
“To our boys’ credit, we came back yesterday to train. We did tests and they were fantastic. We are in a healthy position, but that doesn’t guarantee you anything.”