Sport Port excited about rare AFL trip to MCG

10:15  16 april  2021
10:15  16 april  2021 Source:   aap.com.au

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Port Adelaide are relishing their first AFL game at the MCG in almost two years as they prepare to welcome Sam Powell-Pepper back at SANFL level.

Port Adelaide haven't played at the MCG since their loss to Richmond just under 21 months ago. © Julian Smith/AAP PHOTOS Port Adelaide haven't played at the MCG since their loss to Richmond just under 21 months ago.

Port, having toppled Richmond at home in round four, tackle Carlton at the MCG on Saturday night.

It will mark the Power's first match at the grand-final venue since their round-18 loss to Richmond in 2019, while it will be just their 10th clash at the ground since a dramatic preliminary final loss in 2014.

"It is where everyone wants to play," Port coach Ken Hinkley told reporters in Adelaide.

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"We love playing at Adelaide Oval, don't get me wrong.

"But the MCG, we know it's a famous ground and an exciting ground to play football at. We don't get that opportunity very often, so we look forward to it.

"They just like to play there. It's a big, open ground - great for footy."

Port have recalled Todd Marshall, Boyd Woodcock and Miles Bergman in place of injured youngsters Xavier Duursma (knee) and Zak Butters (ankle) plus ruckman Peter Ladhams.

Connor Rozee (corked thigh) and Orazio Fantasia (ankle) will back up, having recovered from injuries suffered in the Power's bruising win over the Tigers.

"A few will probably go in a little bit sore. Carlton will have a few go in sore as well, I'm sure," Hinkley said.

"We won't take the risk with someone if we thought there was a real, significant risk."

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Powell-Pepper, who in March took leave for personal reasons, will return this weekend via the club's reserves.

"I'd say Sunday morning (he will be pushing for an AFL recall). I expect him to play really well at SANFL level," Hinkley said.

"We won't be reluctant to bring him back into the side.

"As long as he's in a great space mentally and his health is good, he'll push really quickly.

"He's really fit, he's in as good a shape as he can be. He's trained well over the last two weeks, we expect that will transfer."

Hinkley downplayed the prospect of complacency creeping into his squad during their clash with the Blues, pointing to the sides' after-the-siren thriller in 2020.

"Every game is a danger game," Hinkley said.

"Carlton is an emerging young side with a lot of talent.

"If we are at all confused about the quality we are coming up against, we should watch that last minute of football (from the clash last year, when Port needed Robbie Gray's after-the-siren goal to defeat Carlton)."

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