After Round 16, Port Adelaide were fourth on the ladder. They had won their last five games and appeared set for a double chance and a potential shot at the Grand Final.
They ended up missing the eight altogether.
The Power added Scott Lycett, Sam Mayes and Ryan Burton in the trade period, but lost Chad Wingard, Jared Polec, Jack Hombsch and Jasper Pittard. They should now look to hit the draft hard.
What is ahead in 2019 is up in the air with the Power seemingly stuck in limbo between being good enough to make the eight, but not in the same tier as the elite sides.
With a trio of very early selections, nailing this draft could be the difference between them returning to September action and remaining with the also-rans.
Here’s what their best 22 looks like pre-draft:
FB: Dan Houston, Tom Jonas, Darcy Byrne-Jones
HB: Ryan Burton, Dougal Howard, Riley Bonner
C: Hamish Hartlett, Ollie Wines, Brad Ebert
HF: Robbie Gray, Charlie Dixon, Kane Farrell
FF: Justin Westhoff, Scott Lycett, Steven Motlop
Fol: Paddy Ryder, Tom Rockliff, Travis Boak
Int: Sam Powell-Pepper, Sam Gray, Todd Marshall, Tom Clurey
Long term needs
Port Adelaide takes three first-round picks into the draft and should be aiming to bring in the best available midfield talent.
Wines, Rockliff, Boak, Ebert and Powell-Pepper provide the core of their midfield, but they’re all quite similar and the club could do with some class and outside skill to replace the likes of Polec and Wingard.
Short term needs
Midfield. Midfield. Midfield.
Port is well stocked for key defenders, key forwards, ruckmen and running defenders and should simply stockpile all the midfield talent they can find.
A small forward wouldn’t hurt either with Wingard gone and Jake Neade delisted.
Draft picks: 5, 10, 15, 85
Who could they target?
At pick five, the Power have been strongly linked to South Australian Izak Rankine. The dynamic midfielder has impressed many as an explosive player who could become a star in the forward line as well as going through the middle.
There’s a chance fellow South Australian Connor Rozee is available for them at pick 10 and AFL.com.au draft expert Callum Twomey believes he can play in varying positions on the ground while adding some star factor.
At pick 15, small forward Ian Hill (who can roll up onto a wing and through the midfield) could be the right player to bring in to compliment Westhoff, Lycett and Dixon up forward.