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Pre-season guide: Port Adelaide

Harry Thring  December 28, 2012 1:58 AM

AFL 2012 Rd 21 - Port Adelaide v West Coast

Matthew Broadbent is aiming to build on his impressive 2012 showing

Pre-season couldn't have got off to a worse start at Alberton. The football world was rocked by the tragic news of John McCarthy's death while on an end-of-year trip in Las Vegas. It was hard to see how the club could cope with such a tragedy in time to focus on rebounding from two horrific seasons, but the playing and coaching groups, and the club as a whole, have been incredibly strong. It added a new coach in Ken Hinkley, a gun fitness recruit in Darren Burgess and injected some genuine talent into its playing list. Burgess and Hinkley have worked the players hard since the start of pre-season.

Break: Players break for the year on December 21 and will return to training on January 3.

Draftee watch:
Tom Clurey suggested his body wasn't quite right when first interviewed after being drafted, but he's training with the main group and after Christmas will undertake full training. Mason Shaw was in a similar situation after sufferings some injuries last season. His load has been carefully managed, while gun recruit Ollie Wines has been able to handle the vast majority of training, as has Jake Neade.

Burning: After enjoying a breakout year in 2012 in which he finished equal runner-up in the Power's best and fairest, Matthew Broadbent needed to make significant progress over the pre-season to up the ante in 2013. He's on the right track, running really well and providing leadership while at training. Along with Brad Ebert and Paul Stewart, Broadbent is in a group of developing players crucial to the Power's cause next season.

Medical room: The primary injury concern is Robbie Gray, who is continuing to recover from his knee reconstruction. He was never expected to return to action earlier than the usual 12-month time frame, so don't expect to see him line up before April. Forward John Butcher had both his hips operated on, but is now lightly jogging and the club expects him to play some part in the NAB Cup, while Daniel Stewart's hip operation and shoulder reconstruction will prevent him from training fully until February/March.

What they say: "We've had a pretty good run at it since November the 12th when we came back from overseas. We did some training in Italy and then played a game in London, so that got us off to a flying start. We've had six weeks of continuous training, so it's worked out quite well." – Football manager Peter Rohde.

NAB Cup schedule:

Round one: v Adelaide and St Kilda, AAMI Stadium, Sunday, February 17
Round two: v Melbourne, Renmark, Sunday, March 3
Round three: v West Coast, Alice Springs, Saturday, March 9