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Competition for spots a motivating factor for entire group

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 10: Jack Watts of the Power marks in front of Kyle Hartigan, Adelaide Crows during the AFL 2018 JLT Community Series match between Port Adelaide and the Adelaide Crows at Alberton Oval on March 10, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Media)
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 10: Jack Watts of the Power marks in front of Kyle Hartigan, Adelaide Crows during the AFL 2018 JLT Community Series match between Port Adelaide and the Adelaide Crows at Alberton Oval on March 10, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Media)

PORT ADELAIDE Coach Ken Hinkley says he is excited about the depth at his disposal in 2018, but he has warned his players that it will be hard to make the side.

The Power has added eleven new players in the off-season including experienced campaigners like former Brisbane captain Tom Rockliff and former Melbourne skipper Jack Trengove.

With Demons forward Jack Watts now at Alberton too along with former Geelong flyer Steven Motlop, Port has also added quality and versatility to its line-up.

But with the arrivals saw the departures of some long-time fan favourites including Jackson Trengove (Western Bulldogs), Jarman Impey (Hawthorn) and Angus Monfries (retirement) – and Hinkley said the changes required courage.

“It’s incredibly exciting,” Hinkley said.

“We were brave enough to make some changes, we’ve brought in some young players, some mature-aged players, some exciting kids and we want to get going, we want to start playing and we’re very hopeful that that excitement that the fans have, we’ll live up to that and hopefully a bit more.”

Hinkley added that players and coaches are determined to improve on last season’s fifth place finish on the ladder, and eventual disappointment with a two-point overtime loss in the Elimination Final against West Coast.

“I liked the way we played at times, clearly we would have liked to have played a bit better at times, right to the very end we could have been better,” he said.

“We learnt some valuable lessons and we got better.”

One of the areas the Power has definitely improved is its squad depth.

Delisted North Melbourne forward Lindsay Thomas, unlucky Gold Coast Suns defender Trent McKenzie and talented ex-Demon Dom Barry are also pushing to be in Port Adelaide’s best 22, along with a host of young players including Dougal Howard, Riley Bonner and Todd Marshall, who impressed late in 2017.

“We’ve got good depth, you need 30 plus to be successful in an AFL season,” Hinkley said.

“We had an unbelievable run with injury last year, there’s no doubt about that, and to think we’d have that again this year would be foolish, so we’ve got some depth there.

“We’ve got some young players who are ready to get some games into them and some other new players to the club as well who will prove to everyone that with good depth comes pressure and with pressure comes hopefully a better performance because you won’t want to go out of the side because I think you’ll find it hard to get back in.”

Captain Travis Boak echoed Hinkley’s excitement about the squad depth, particularly around the midfield.

“The midfield runs pretty deep,” he said.

“There’s a few of us who can play wherever the team needs and when you have the likes of Motlop and Watts who can play through there as well it is pretty exciting. 

“It’s a pretty special group we’ve got at the moment and that’s off the back of how special this club is.

“We’re very lucky to put on the Power guernsey each week and be part of this great club.”

Port Adelaide will open its 2018 AFL Season against Fremantle at Adelaide Oval on March 24.

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