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Port out to shake 'unskilled' tag

Harry Thring  February 27, 2013 12:20 PM

AFL 2012 Rd 19 - GWS Giants v Port Adelaide

Kane Cornes says Port will take the game on more this season

PORT Adelaide is determined to fix its reputation as one of the most unskilled sides in the League.

And after the first round of the NAB Cup the team's kicking efficiency went from second worst (63.9 per cent) last season to second best (68.3 per cent).

While only one week into the pre-season competition, midfielder Kane Cornes said it had been a direct focus of the past few months.

"Our kicking's been pretty poor in previous years so we've done a lot of work on that during the pre-season and also our decision making," Cornes said.

"We're encouraged to really take it on and use our kick … [we] certainly want to play really fast, attacking footy.

"There's just been a focus to be a little bit more direct with our kicking and probably take harder options that we've been more reluctant to take in the past.

"It's easy to do that at training but the real test will be against competitive opposition."

The Power's ineffiency extended to other areas, their 65.2 turnovers a game was the ninth worst in the AFL – another key focus.

The side's next chance to display its development will be against Melbourne on Sunday in South Australia's Riverland.

Cornes is expected to sit out Sunday's match, but he predicted coach Ken Hinkley's desire to have up to a dozen players capable of rotating through his midfield would see a host youngsters get an opportunity.

"We want to have 10 to 12 guys through there in all sorts of positions … there's a lot of talent on our list," he said.

"Those guys are going to get an opportunity, they'll get that through the NAB Cup and I guess whoever takes that opportunity will get a spot round one.

"Certainly there seems to be a lot more depth through the midfield which is pretty exciting."

Cornes said he was impressed with the Power's build-up to its round one match against the Demons on March 31, particularly by the fitness standards shown by some new to the club.

The 245-game veteran has been a perennial pre-season performer at Alberton and revealed to in January it was his favourite time of the year.

But at 30, Cornes conceded he was being heavily challenged on the training track, something that's been great benefited him and his teammates.

"There's a couple of guys going really well, the guys that we've recruited, Ollie Wines and these sort of guys are really powerful runners, Kane Mitchell's another one," he said.

"It drives the whole group forward, even the guys that are down the back, it forces them to really lift their game and get up the front.
"The standard's been set and, as I said, I've been pretty impressed by it."

Kane Cornes is a midfielder in AFL Fantasy. He averaged 91 points in 2012. Register your team at our AFL Fantasy hub.

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