PORT Adelaide young gun Dan Houston is relishing his permanent switch to the midfield, revealing he never thought it would happen until getting his chance midway through last season.
The 22-year-old was ready to continue playing across half-back before he was thrown into the midfield for the Power's round 11 clash with St Kilda when gun on-baller Tom Rockliff was ruled out with a hamstring injury, three days before the game.
With no time to call in reinforcements, Houston was thrown into the midfield, racking up 28 touches and seven clearances in a 70-point thumping of the Saints.
He remained there for the rest of the season, having 29 disposals in three of the Power's final five games and finishing third in the club's best and fairest.
Houston – who has played 60 games since debuting in round 1, 2017 against Sydney – is now a lock in the midfield and was a standout in the Power's intra-club game last Friday night.
"I thought I'd be down back for the majority of my career," Houston told reporters on Monday.
"Obviously last year in China, Rocky pulling out late, sort of opened that door a little bit, but I'd always gone in there at training to help improve my skills in that area.
"It just got to the stage where Ken (coach Ken Hinkley) gave me the nod and it opened up that pathway."
It's the first time Houston has completed a full pre-season as a midfielder having started his career as a forward before moving into defence.
"I found last year I was trying to learn during the game and not so much during the week at training," he said.
"I think my running's improved, so I feel like I can get from contest to contest and get around the ground really well compared to last year.
"If I do have to spend time down forward, I think I can be an option down there."
Houston has been working closely with injured vice-captain Ollie Wines to get tips on how to use his body against stronger opponents.
"There's different roles at stoppage and areas you have to work people into and protect for other people," he said.
"Just using your body and knowing little bits and pieces and tricks that you can't necessarily learn yourself."
The Power open their Marsh Community Series campaign against Brisbane at the Moreton Bay Sports Complex on Sunday.