AFL 2022: Port Adelaide injury news, Scott Lycett lined up for return against Melbourne

Scott Lycett, Ruckman from Port Adelaide, celebrated his long-awaited return to the SANFL on Saturday. But will the Force rush in on him right back? You may not have a choice.

Melbourne’s gun-jerking duo of Max Gawn and Luke Jackson could force Port Adelaide to bring Scott Lycett back into the squad a week earlier than desired, says power assistant coach Chad Cornes.

Lycett has not played at the AFL level since suffering a shoulder injury in Round 4 against the Demons at the Adelaide Oval.

The Power’s No. 1 Ruckman played for the Magpies in the SANFL on Saturday against Woodville West Torrens and had 16 disposals, one goal, 13 hitouts and three marks.

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After a comfortable win over GWS and Richmond, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs, all of whom lost, the Powers are now down to one win from eight and have improved their percentage.

They now meet the incumbent Prime Ministers and gun-jerk duo Gawn and Jackson in Alice Springs on Sunday.

Without Lycett, the Power used 196cm tall Jeremy Finlayson and 200cm tall Charlie Dixon as backpacks.

But Cornes said Gawn, 208cm, and Jackson, 199cm, could force the Force to leave early with the return of Lycett – who stands at 203cm.

“Scooter has faced the competition,” said Cornes.

“He played pretty well in SANFL over the weekend and said that Charlie and Jeremy are doing a really good job.

“I know the midfield coach is very happy with the mix we have in terms of our rucks.

“But Scooter has turned out really well for us. So this is going to be an interesting call for us.

“Yeah, it would make it a little bit easier if we didn’t have the size disadvantage that Jeremy has when he’s up against them on center bounce.

“That will probably come up for discussion.

“Ideally, Scooter would probably have one more, but he ran well from the game from what I’ve seen and he put on a pretty good performance.”

Dixon’s games against Gold Coast and Fremantle, in particular, have prompted calls that the key forward could be a No. 1 Ruckman, with power coach Ken Hinkley saying he could be an Elite.

Cornes said Dixon going into the ruck had helped Todd Marshall shine up front.

“I love some of the things he’s done for us as a key forward over the past few years,” Hinkley said.

“But with Charlie pushing himself into the ruck and doing what he did there, it gave Todd a lot more attention, it gave Mitch (Georgiades) more opportunities too, and Jeremy was there too.

“What I loved is how Todd took control of the forward line, treated it like his own and the way he played this year has been brilliant.”

The duel against the Demons begins a challenging run for the Power, followed by top-eight sides Geelong, Collingwood and Richmond.

Cornes said the power would still keep a narrow focus.

“One week at a time, I know it sounds boring, but after an 0-5 start, it was week at a time,” he said.

“It’s definitely a tough month with the schedule, but it’s a big challenge for us.”

Inside harsh feedback sparked a revelation for Rozee

– Matt Turner

As Port Adelaide sought answers on how to reverse their horrible start to the season, the team’s leadership group and coaches challenged Connor Rozee.

They challenged him to play harder, stay in competitions longer, improve his off-ball efforts and become more of a leader.

Rozee’s form had dropped, much like the team’s.

The Power knew if he could address these areas of his game it would benefit both him and the team.

Fast forward to Round 17, Rozee plays the best football of his career.

And he helped keep Port Adelaide within reach to reach the final.

Saturday night was possibly his most influential game since he was drafted with pick 5 in 2018.

He recorded a game-high 154 ranking points, scored four goals, accumulated 24 dismounts, had four clearances and made five tackles in a brilliant performance as the Power GWS beat GWS at home by 55 points.

Fox Footy’s Leigh Montagna said Rozee has been one of the best players in the competition over the past two months and a big reason for Port Adelaide climbing the ladder.

Power captain Tom Jonas said the 22-year-old had become a handful for the opposition and rose for the team.

“He was challenged earlier this year to be a leader and play consistent, hard football,” Jonas told News Corp.

“Stay competitive, stay stronger and be tougher for longer.

“There is no shortage of talent.

“You have to give him his credit for taking the feedback on board and really developing into one of the most important young leaders in our group, both on and off the field.

“When you’re 0-2, 0-3, 0-4 or 0-5, you see where you can improve.

“He wasn’t the only one who had to see how they were doing, it was club-wide.”

Rozee’s performance against the Giants was marked by difficult moments that hadn’t always been part of his package.

There was his chasing attack on Lachie Ash which resulted in a free kick where he saved the ball and scored.

He also went hard on a 50-50 ball on the wing, colliding with Isaac Cumming and walking away second best, but he didn’t hesitate as the competition beckoned and rebounded from a heavy hit.

In the first four rounds of the season, Rozee averaged 2.3 tackles and 12.25 pressure points per game.

The North Adelaide product has since averaged 3.7 tackles and 19.08 pressure points.

“He’s a great young person and wants to feel the team’s success,” said Jonas.

“He gets fulfillment from the team that is going well and playing well is a by-product of that.

“He figured the best way forward for him was for the whole team to be okay and when you invest in the group he’s essentially investing in himself.

“His chasing the ball and the man was right up there like Peps (Sam Powell-Pepper).

“He has become one of those who set standards in this area.”

Jonas said Rozee is dynamic when he has the footy.

“He’s so strong in the hips, he can break tackles, uses the ball well and has the ability to come forward and cause damage on the scoreboard,” he said.

Rozee stormed into the AFL in 2019 and finished second to Sam Walsh in the Rising Star Awards, leading the Power’s scoring game with 29 games out of 22 and finishing fourth in the club’s best and fairest club.

His 2020 campaign was quieter and a foot injury prevented him from starting last year.

If his speed, evasive maneuvers and mileage are any evidence, he seems to be in top form at the moment.

“He’s had some challenges … and that takes resilience and a strong character to get through that,” Jonas said.

“It certainly makes a big difference to feel fresh and to be able to train every week.”

Rozee, who was mostly a small forward for his first three seasons, pays dividends in midfield.

The move has been almost permanent since halftime against Carlton in Round 5.

Rozee had only participated in seven center bounces so far this season, but has gone center in the last two terms and sparked the Power charge from 49 points down to lose by three points.

Since then, his CBA numbers have been: 19, nine, 16, 16, eight, 10, 15, 18, 24, 19 and 10.

According to Fox Footy, Rozee went into Saturday night’s game as the No. 3 midfielder/forward since Round 6.

“If you look at the path for most midfielders, you start half-back or half-up and learn the game, build some muscle and then move into midfield,” Jonas said.

“It’s always been on the agenda of guys like Buttsy (Zak Butters), Roze and Duurs (Xavier Duursma).

“They have some incredible assets that will make us a better team, so we want to put them on the ball as much as possible.”

Power Coach Ken Hinkley said Rozee is building a strong season.

“We think he is an exceptionally talented young person who is a great team player,” said Hinkley.

“He would have to be one of the most important midfielders in the competition at the moment and I hope that’s the case because that gives him more growth because he gets more attention.”

Montagna said everyone knew Rozee had the potential to be a star.

“Now we’re seeing it — and we’re seeing it week in and week out, which is the most important thing,” he said.

“He’s playing center bounce a lot more time now, he’s hitting the scoreboard, he’s winning the clearance and the competition using that speed.

“If he can keep scoring goals and capturing balls in the middle of the ground, he’ll be strong for the rest of the season.”

As Montagna pointed out and Jonas alluded to, Rozee’s rise has boosted Port Adelaide’s form as they come within a win and 7.8 per cent of the top eight.

If The Power is due out in September, suspect Rozee will continue to feature heavily in the remaining six games.

Originally published as AFL 2022: All the latest Port Adelaide news and analysis AFL 2022: Port Adelaide injury news, Scott Lycett lined up for return against Melbourne

Nate Jones

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