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SANFL preview: Round 12 vs Norwood

Loukas Founten  June 29, 2018 5:03 PM

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - June 17: Matthew Lokan, coach of the Magpies during the 2018 SANFL round 11 match between the Port Adelaide Magpies and the Sturt Football Club at Alberton Oval on June 17, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Media)

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - June 17: Matthew Lokan, coach of the Magpies during the 2018 SANFL round 11 match between the Port Adelaide Magpies and the Sturt Football Club at Alberton Oval on June 17, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Media)

PORT ADELAIDE SANFL coach Matthew Lokan sees Sunday’s game against Norwood as a good chance to test his young midfield against one of the league’s best.

The Magpies were beaten by 24 points when the sides met last month at the Parade.

In that game, they had been bolstered by the inclusion of Sam Powell-Pepper and Tom Rockliff from the AFL side.

This week, as well as Powell-Pepper and Rockliff, possibly the club’s most consistent performer of the season, Jack Trengove, won’t be there as he gets his chance to make his AFL debut for the club.

Young defender Joel Garner has had season-ending shoulder surgery and a back complaint will sideline another key midfielder in Joe Atley.

And while many would see the player turnover as a negative, Lokan says there is suddenly more opportunity for more young players to get a run on the ball.

“It’ll give guys an opportunity to play midfield who haven’t had a lot of midfield time over the last month or so – guys like Cam Hewett and Jake Patmore will roll through there a bit more,” he said.

“For us it’s an opportunity to give some guys a run through there against a quality outfit in Norwood.

“Obviously their midfield is their strength with Mitch Grigg and Matthew Panos and Josh Glenn who has come back into the side and is playing some good footy so I think it’ll be a day where it’ll be won or lost into the midfield and we’ll have to put some time into one or two of them in the midfield and hopefully get the job done.”

The Magpies will be bolstered by the return of experienced defenders Jarrod Lienert and Matthew Broadbent.

Lienert hasn’t played since suffering a knee injury in Round 4, while Broadbent is playing his first game of the season after undergoing ankle surgery.

Darcy Byrne-Jones will also play his first SANFL game of the year after being left out of the AFL team for being late to training.

The Redlegs are gunning for their seventh win in a row while Port has found consistency in the last two weeks with wins over Central District and reigning premier Sturt.

Lokan says he is looking to continue that momentum of the last fortnight.

“We’ve just learnt in the last two weeks to be more consistent with our effort and in what we do,” he said.

“If we can bring that consistency and play four quarters we give ourselves a chance.

“We need to be able to do it again and we have two tough weeks coming up against Norwood and the Eagles and as long as we are competitive we give ourselves a chance to do well at the end of the season.

“We need to win to stay in touch with the top five.”

As well as adding another chapter to the long rivalry between Port and Norwood, Sunday’s game at Alberton will also be a celebration to mark 50 years of service for club greats Alfie Trebilcock and Russell Ebert.

Trebilcock started in the role of boot-studder in 1968, the same year four-time Magarey Medallist Ebert arrived at Alberton.

Lokan has invited both men to be involved on the day, while Trebilcock will toss the coin and Ebert will kick the ceremonial first goal of the game before the first bounce.

“Clubs don’t run without volunteers like Alfie and greats like Russell Ebert and 50 years at one football club is a huge achievement,” Lokan said.

“Those people are well known to our players and it’s a big day for the club.”

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