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Travel a Power pain point

AAP and Harry Thring  February 28, 2013 10:07 AM

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Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley is unimpressed with how much pre-season travel his team must undertake

If you ask me for an ideal world, we would play seven-day breaks and play more in Adelaide
PORT Adelaide's gruelling AFL pre-season travel schedule doesn't sit well with coach Ken Hinkley.

The Power will travel almost 300km from Adelaide to Renmark to play Melbourne in a pre-season cup game on Sunday.

Port then must travel to Alice Springs to play West Coast just six days later.

"It certainly doesn't sit well with me that we have to do all that," Hinkley told reporters on Thursday.

"But that is part of the competition.

"If you ask me for an ideal world, we would play seven-day breaks and play more in Adelaide."

Port players and officials will travel by bus to Renmark on Saturday.

And after Sunday's game, which doesn't start until 4pm ACDT, they will return to Adelaide by bus - a trip of more than three hours.

"We'll be back Sunday night and we will be preparing really early because we go to Alice Springs the following week off a six-day break so it's a pretty difficult one for us," Hinkley said.

But Hinkley rejected a theory that Port's current lowly status in the competition resulted in their challenging travel schedule.

"I don't buy into that stuff," he said.

"It's part of the AFL that we take these games regional, and we should take them there when we get a chance."

Meanwhile, the Power's ruck armoury is a step closer to being fully equipped, with promising big man Matthew Lobbe to return to action against Melbourne on Sunday.

Lobbe sat out the opening round of the NAB Cup with hamstring soreness and was restricted to just nine games last year because of hip and hamstring issues.

In those nine games he averaged 18 hit-outs and 10 disposals a game, which included a 32 hit-out, two-goal performance against St Kilda in round one.

The 200cm 24-year-old will join Jarrad Redden in Renmark; the potential of whom senior assistant coach Alan Richardson recently compared to star Adelaide ruckman Sam Jacobs.

It will be Hinkley's first look at how his ruck setup could appear come round one.

"We'll be taking 'Lobbes' up [to Renmark]," Hinkley said.

"Obviously he's one of those players I need to see a little bit. He's had a bit of restriction for the last couple of weeks.

"We're really keen to see him play with big 'Reddo' (Redden) and get them in the ruck together and see how they go."

And with former Hawthorn premiership ruckman Brent Renouf close to rejoining the main training group, Hinkley said the Power's stocks could triple in less than two weeks.

"We need to get big 'Roofy' (Renouf) back on the park and, look, he's right back into training now so we're excited about what he's been able to do," he said.

"In five or six days we're probably going to have three of them available whereas only 10 days ago we had one.

"It makes a pretty big difference to what you can do…it's nice to have some ruckmen available."

Matthew Lobbe is a ruckman in AFL Fantasy. He averaged 66.89 points in 2012.

Harry Thring is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_Harry. Register your team at our AFL Fantasy hub.