Athletic defender Aliir Aliir joined Port Adelaide during the 2020 AFL Trade Period, heading to Alberton on an initial four-year deal after playing 64 games for Sydney.
The 26-year-old only took up footy as a teenager after being introduced to the game by school mates in Kedron in Queensland and became the first South Sudanese player in the AFL when selected by the Swans in the 2013 National Draft.
But his trailblazing goes back to his early life. Born in a refugee camp in Kenya after his family had escaped a bloody civil war in their native Sudan, he endured significant hardship, losing his father in a car accident when he was just seven years old.
Renowned as an athletic, high-leaping and speedy backman, Aliir had cemented himself in Sydney’s backline and had another year remaining on his contract before Port Adelaide came calling.
The 26-year-old impressed Port’s recruiting staff with his versatility and ability to also play in the ruck.