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Kane's cross to bear

Harry Thring and Mark Conway  February 25, 2013 3:35 PM

AFL 2013 NAB Cup Rd 01 - Port Adelaide v St Kilda

Rookie Kane Mitchell is aiming to join the Power's senior lost

Over the years I've had that stigma attached to me, the fact I couldn't kick.

CAN'T kick, too small.

It's a label Kane Mitchell has been forced to wear throughout his career, and one he's aiming to defy at the game's highest level.

The 23-year-old was finally offered the chance at last year's Rookie Draft after Port Adelaide's head recruiter Geoff Parker convinced the club to take him with pick five.

It follows a credentialed career at Claremont that spawned three Grand Finals, two premierships and a Sandover Medal.

But mud sticks.

"Over the years I've had that stigma attached to me, the fact that I couldn't kick," Mitchell admits.

I've been working on that every day here [at Port], I've done a lot of kicking with a lot of people … Tyson Edwards is helping me out, 'Buddha' Hocking and 'Richo' (Alan Richardson) have helped me out, even Kane Cornes has been doing a bit of work with me.

"I'm getting a lot of advice from a lot of people."

Mitchell's stature, a diminutive 174cm, can be traced back to his grandfather Norman Johnston, and looms large in the reasoning of why he's been overlooked for so many years.

"My grandpa was a jockey so I think I was burned from the get go … there's not much I can really do about that," Mitchell said.

"That's life, I just control the controllables and that's speed, endurance and my skills."

With Nick Salter demoted to the long-term injury list, the speedy midfielder is now seeking elevation to the Power's senior list and is looking to a fellow West Australian, albeit one with myriad off-field issues, for inspiration.

"[Former Eagle Ben Cousins] was just a tireless worker, I see myself in the same kind of ilk as a player on the field," Mitchell said.

"Just the way he worked himself into the ground, his skills weren't always the best thing when he was younger so I see myself as the same kind of thing."

Mitchell has started strongly, a standout in the Power's trial against Port Adelaide's SANFL side and impressive in the first round of the NAB Cup, collecting a match-high 11 disposals against Adelaide.

"All I can really do is work hard and continue to work hard … that's all it's down to mate," Mitchell said.

"I think I've gone like a duck to water, I've just enjoyed every minute of it … everyday being around footy is something that I love.

"Whether or not my form reflects that I don't really mind, I'm just really enjoying it."

Kane Mitchell is a midfielder in AFL Fantasy. Register your team at our AFL Fantasy hub.

Harry Thring is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_Harry.