PORT ADELAIDE vice-captain Hamish Hartlett has made a strong return to football, eleven months after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament.
Hartlett was a solid performer as Port Adelaide’s SANFL side beat Adelaide by 15-points in a pre-season trial game at Alberton Oval.
He played off half back, attacking the contest without any hesitation, and despite some uncharacteristic sloppy kicking, the 28-year-old was pleased to get through the game.
“The leg felt alright,” he told portadelaidefc.com.au after the match.
“I landed on it a bit awkwardly early on in the game where my knee bent pretty aggressively but it settled down after about 30 seconds or so.
“Other than that, it was fine - my change of direction was good, I shanked a couple of kicks and I don’t know if it was my legs or the Burley… it might have been a combination of both.
“But the knee felt really good so we’ll see how it pulls up tomorrow but I reckon it’ll be fine.”
Hartlett was quick to thank those who have helped him through his rehabilitation and others who had wished him well in the last couple of days ahead of his return to the field.
“The amount of support and well-wishes over the last 48 hours has been pretty incredible so I’m very thankful for doing that,” he said.
“I was really really excited to first of all put on the guernsey for the first time at Magpies level and then with some boys that a) I haven’t played with before and then b) I haven’t played a lot of footy with as well was really exciting for me.
“I’m really happy with the way it got through, fitness wise I felt really good, I ran out the game pretty well so things are good.”
As for the result, Hartlett commended his side for responding to an early Crows challenge but running over the top of them as the game wore on.
The Magpies set up the win with a five-goals to two second quarter, including the first four majors in-a-row before holding the visiting side at bay for the remainder of the match.
“To play the way we did against a really solid Crows line-up was pleasing,” Hartlett said.
“They challenged us early but we managed to get on top of them through the midfield.
“Our pressure around the footy was outstanding and we thought we finished off the game well so that was pleasing.”
The Magpies will start their 2019 SANFL campaign against West Adelaide on Friday 31 March at City Mazda Stadium.