Port Adelaide has the genesis of a golden generation after impressive debuts from Connor Rozee, Xavier Duursma, Zak Butters and Willem Drew against Melbourne says Jono Brown.
Port Adelaide ran the Demons ragged with its rookies leading the charge in a26-point season opener win at the MCG last Saturday.
Zak Butters (2) and Duursma slotted goals while Rozee picked up 18 touches in a stellar outing for the 2018 draftees. Influential Willem Drew enjoyed the most touches of Port’s debutants with 21 while attending 13 centre bounces.
“The young blokes are standout. Whenever you can have an immediate impact that is pretty exciting especially when you have three of them,” Brown told The Advertiser.
“Willem Drew is from my way, Koroit boy. It gives great hope to a club.
“The enthusiasm was infectious. There was Xavier Duursma setting up goals, Connor Rozee kicked a goal and Willem Drew was fantastic.”
Port premiership coach Mark Williams blooded Mitchell Banner, Cameron Hitchcock, Andrew Moore and Jackson Trengove in Round 1, 2010 alongside side recruits Jay Schulz and Scott Harding.
However, Brown notes the elite pedigree of Port’s No. 5, No. 12 and No. 18 draft picks Rozee, Butters and Duursma. Drew was a steal at No. 33 in the 2016 draft while recruits Scott Lycett and Ryan Burton are top shelf.
“Rozee is exciting. It is very rare that you get multiple first years in that look like they can have an impact. Probably more so than any other club Port Adelaide looks like they are the team to be able to have that,” said Fox Footy On the Couch expert Brown.
Brown noted the change in tack from Port’s mature age investment in Jack Watts, Steve Motlop and Tom Rockliff in season where its 2018 draftees figured in five games, the lowest total of any club. The Power is at three and counting this campaign.
“Last year they went for the mature agers this year they went for the rookies pathway and they delivered. Four debutants seemed to be an ask against a potential premier and they were outstanding,” said triple Brisbane premiership great Brown.
Port Adelaide fired the ball around the MCG in contrast to static ball movement across last year’s 10th placed finish. Port’s 426 disposals against Melbourne easily exceeded its 375.5 average last season. The telling change in Port’s games style was the doubling of its mark and play on ratio from 25.2 per cent to 46.1 with Travis Boak and Tom Rockliff thriving in core midfield roles.
“I think a lot of people have been a bit cool on Port Adelaide but they won a lot of people over in the pre-season. They will play a more exciting brand of footy that resembled when they were on the cusp of success in 2014,” said Brown.