Port Adelaide Intraclub Review

On a nice summer evening at Alberton Oval, Port Adelaide got their intraclub started as their brand new MG Centre loomed large over the historic grounds.

Unlike other teams which tend to match their A-team against their B-team, Port elected to go with a much more balanced approach and spread out their team evenly. Not only is this (in my opinion) a much better thing to do as it creates a more balanced match simulation, but we also got the novel appearance of matchup like Connor Rozee vs Zak Butters in the middle.

And the matchup turned out to be a high quality one, by intraclub standards anyway, as the black team beat the white team 12.9 (81) to 11.9 (75).

Defenders Aliir Aliir and Trent McKenzie missed, and so did forward Jeremy Finlayson as they were held out due to minor injuries, but the rest of the big names all played.

So let’s see who impressed.



Zak Butters and Connor Rozee are the crown jewels of the Port Adelaide youth movement from a few years back. Butters should arguably have been the Brownlow medallist in 2023, while Connor Rozee is a dual All-Australian and the new Port captain. Both looked as good as always.

Rozee just looks ridiculously composed for someone who’s still not even hit his peak yet. His poise is incredible, and he was looking like the captain Port clearly thinks he can be in 2024. They wouldn’t have given him the #1 to wear otherwise.

And bless Zak Butters, he doesn’t treat an intraclub like an intraclub, but almost like a September blockbuster. I’m exaggerating, but only slightly. All game he was lining up the ball and using his pace and aggression to grab it and take it out of the midfield which culminated in the goal of the game where he bounced several times through the corridor before nailing a goal on the run from 35 metres out.

The two lined up against eachother and even switched teams after the first quarter, probably to balance the midfields out a little better. But it was something to see Rozee’s cool use of the football and his agility match off against Butters’ speed and aggression. They even got some time together when Rozee returned to his original club in the second half.

Either way, they’re must see footballers.

The future of the club is in good hands.



Presumably one of the reasons Port Adelaide elected to go with an even match-up for their intraclub was for a fair contest between Ivan Soldo and Jordan Sweet as they battle for the #1 ruck position. After all, it isn’t fair if one gets the stars and the other gets the guys that play SANFL for most of 2024.

In any case, score one up for Ivan Soldo in this game.

Sweet was by no means horrible, but Soldo looked legitimately incredible in this matchup. He was everywhere in the game, especially the first half, and looked right at home.

The thing especially of note was the chemistry he showed with Jason Horne-Francis in this game. JHF is going to play more midfield time than he did in 2023, and this bodes well for them both if they’re in tune with one another. The preseason games still need to be played, but Soldo should be the early favourite here.



A few years ago, Port Adelaide gave Sam Powell-Pepper an ultimatum to basically straighten up and fly right, or his future was not at the club. SPP was not progressing on the field to their liking and was getting in trouble off of it, and there was sufficient interest from teams in WA that Port was very much considering moving on.

The idea of SPP leaving Port now is unthinkable. He’s a member of the leadership group, has produced high level football and now has a young family in Adelaide. What a turnaround.

He picked up right where he left out with three goals in this game, but the most impressive play was a shot on goal he missed. He tried to shake off an opposing defender, went to ground, managed to somehow shake off the grip of his man while stuck on the turf, get back up and then unfortunately spray the snap from about 15, to 20m out. Maybe he was just blinded by the awesomeness of that move.



Will Lorenz is a late draft pick at #57, but he happens to fill a big need for a team that’s scrambling to fill its positions on the wing. Losing Karl Amon at the end of 2022 and then Xavier Duursma at the end of last year means the team trialled some different combinations.

Nobody really stood out, but Lorenz certainly showed some nice things with his attack on the ball, his ball use and kicking a goal on the day. He’s by no means the finished product but out of sheer necessity, a situation exists where a strong preseason showing against both Adelaide and Fremantle (if selected), could see him moving into contention.

Just something to consider. If nothing else, he certainly didn’t look overawed.



Sometimes, a player just seems to have his time come. For Port Adelaide, Charlie Dixon might be someone on his last legs.

Put simply, he didn’t look great in this intraclub. Esava Ratugolea shut him down, and he wasn’t able to get going when Ratugolea had to leave due to injury. This is a team whose biggest weakness was at key defender.

Dixon is still a physically imposing player, and teams will have to respect him by putting the big key defender on him so he simply doesn’t ragdoll his guy. He’s still capable of that.

But at this stage of his career, he’s a decoy that the team would be happy to get 30 goals from. I don’t know how much longer he can keep Ollie Lord out of the team for good.



Port Adelaide are for the most part looking pretty healthy, but they had some outs ahead of this hitout. None too serious however in this list, and the club has confirmed that the trio of Finlayson, McKenzie and Aliir would be available to play the Crows next week.

Along with the three, young second-year defenders Tom McCallum and Kyle Marshall also missed out due to minor injuries.



As mentioned the team is looking for wingers, and third year player Josh Sinn put up his hand with a good performance. The former first-round pick has struggled to hold down a spot in the team, but he’s got pace to burn and a booming left foot that was on display here.

Jase Burgoyne looked like he lived in the gym this summer with some noticeable muscle development. He’s very talented and might get more consistent gametime in 2024.

Ivan Soldo was amazing but Jordan Sweet by no means was horrible, kicking a goal as well. Port probably won’t play both rucks at this point, but the contest isn’t over yet.

Welcome back Mitch Georgiades, kicking two goals in his return from an ACL injury in 2023. He looked 100% running in this game.

Esava Ratugolea looked very good in this game, but didn’t play the second half due to an injury. It looked like a corkie and nothing serious, and the club confirmed he should be good to go next week.

Will Lorenz wasn’t the only draft pick to hit the board with Lachie Charleston and Thomas Anastasopoulos among the goalkickers as well. A good result all in all for the 2023 draft crop.

Brandon Zerk-Thatcher looked at home in the Port Adelaide backline, clunking some big intercept marks. As long as he isn’t stuck on forwards out of his depth like he was at Essendon, he could have a big 2024.

Not game related, but the umpires in this game were AWFUL bouncing the ball. The quarters were 28 minutes long with no time on added, so game time was constantly being wasted. It’s getting to the point that banning the bounce is not the worst idea ever anymore. Tradition is good, but not if they can’t do it.

This year could very well be make or break for Port Adelaide and I can hardly say how legitimate they look in an intraclub, but their brand of play was very exciting for preseason standards and there’s no denying the class on display for the team.

We might get a good look at what they’re capable of next week as they host the Crows at Alberton on Friday night. It might be preseason, but bragging rights are still bragging rights, and the fans will be there hoping they get it done.