Port puts heat on Powell-Pepper in AFL

Port Adelaide are putting heat on Sam Powell-Pepper to show a proper commitment to his AFL career after he pondered a trade to a rival club.

West Australian-born Powell-Pepper was linked to West Coast in the trade period but ultimately remains at the Power.

The 23-year-old has been unable to crack the regular midfield berth he craves at Port – he was a medical substitute in the club’s two finals this season.

Port’s football manager Chris Davies says Powell-Pepper now faces a career-defining pre-season.

“Sam has some things he needs to do better,” Davies told reporters on Thursday.

“You will all get to see if Sam has a proper commitment to play at AFL level by what he does through this pre-season.

“That is Sam’s challenge.

“If he really wants to play in the midfield, and we have a need for that type of player, that is up to him.

“We will see how committed Sam is by the way he comes back for the pre-season.

“He needs to come back in a fitter state than what he has previously. If he does that, he has every chance to play in our midfield.”

Powell-Pepper took time away from Port in mid-March, citing personal reasons, and returned to the club in late April.

In April 2018, he was suspended for three games – two by his club and one from the AFL – for inappropriately touching a woman at an Adelaide bar while he was drunk.

“Sam played some significant football in his first two years,” Davies said.

“But he has had some troubles in his off-seasons in the past couple of years that right now he needs to fix that if he wants to become a midfielder.

“That is the conversation we had with Sam and his manager through this trade period.”

Powell-Pepper has played 92 games for Port since making his debut in 2017.

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