REBORN Port Adelaide defender Trent McKenzie could be handed the task of shutting down Geelong's Coleman medallist Tom Hawkins in Thursday's qualifying final.
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McKenzie has become a key part of the Power's backline this year, playing 15 games after managing just 16 in his previous four seasons at AFL level.
His amazing career rejuvenation could culminate in the 28-year-old being given the job to shut down Hawkins as the top-of-the-ladder Port Adelaide looks to progress to a home preliminary final with a win over the Cats.
Hawkins kicked 42 goals in 17 games this season to claim his first Coleman Medal, but Port coach Ken Hinkley said McKenzie would be up for the challenge.
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"It's a great story Trent, with what he's been able to achieve. Last week he played on Mason Cox who is seven foot tall and he's been able to get the job done," Hinkley said on Wednesday.
"His form deserves every opportunity against any player in the competition, I reckon. If he gets a chance to be on 'Hawk', or [Patrick] Dangerfield or whoever else is down there, or [Rhys] Stanley or whoever else they put down there, he'll do a great job."
Returning defender Tom Clurey is another option for Hinkley to take on Hawkins, even though the veteran Cat kicked six goals in their previous encounter.
The Power will enter the Adelaide Oval clash with confidence after an incredible season, and Hinkley backed in his men to take on the more experienced Geelong outfit.
"So far I'm really proud of what the boys have been able to do. It takes a long time to get it to where we've gotten to, but they've earned it and you get what you deserve," he said.
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"The boys have earned their opportunity to finish on top of the ladder and now they've got to move on to the next stage and see where we can go in the finals series. We're a really good team, we're a really strong team. We're very capable."
The full-strength Port Adelaide will regain Clurey from his hamstring injury, while Ryan Burton is also expected to play after his quad strain. Emerging star Zak Butters will also be back from suspension to take on the Cats.