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Sutcliffe thankful for the opportunity

Port Adelaide mid-season draftee, Cam Sutcliffe is excited to add to his 104 AFL games this Sunday against the Lions.

PORT ADELAIDE mid-season draftee Cam Sutcliffe wasn’t sure if he would get another opportunity at senior football again, but he has been named to face Brisbane in Round 17.

Sutcliffe will make his Power debut against the Lions on Sunday afternoon, after strong form in the SANFL ensured he was selected by Port in this year’s NAB Mid-Season Rookie Draft.

The 27-year-old says he didn’t think the opportunity to play in the AFL would come around again.

“It’s pretty surreal - I wouldn’t have thought I’d have this opportunity six months ago,” Sutcliffe told portadelaidefc.com.au on Friday.

“Thankfully there was a mid-season draft and I got taken, and luckily enough played some okay footy to warrant getting a call-up.”

The former Fremantle utility says it was a special moment to be able to share with his new teammates and friends at the club.

“We have a team breakfast every Thursday morning and (Ken Hinkley) let everyone know then,” Sutcliffe said.

“I’m really happy, and I’m going to take my opportunity because I know it might not last for long if I don’t do my job.

“I’ve been around the club a fair bit the past eight or nine months. I’ve built a pretty good relationship with most of the guys here, so to be able to share that moment with all of them was pretty special.”

Sutcliffe says it will be a really strong contest with Brisbane on Sunday afternoon, and expects the midfield battle to be the deciding factor.

“It’s going to be a really fierce battle,” he said.

“They are a top four side now. They have a really strong midfield with the likes of Lachie Neale and Zorko, and those sorts of guys running through there playing really good footy.

“If we can nullify their influence, it will go a long towards us winning.”

Sutcliffe played 104 games for Fremantle after being selected with pick 71 in the 2011 draft, and admitted he wasn’t sure what he would do post his career with the Dockers. A phone call from Alberton changed that.

“Shane Grimm and Chris Davies said there was an opportunity to play for the Magpies and be captain, so I thought I would jump at that one,” he said.

“The Magpies are going along pretty well this year. To come back and have an impact in that role has been great. Now I’ve been lucky enough to get drafted again. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind.

“Matt Lokan has been a good coach, and the way he gets around the boys and works with the younger group is quite special.

“We’ve built a strong bond so far, and hopefully we can move deep into finals.”

Sutcliffe will wear the number 50 on his back when he runs out for the Power against the Lions - the largest number in the club’s AFL history.

The previous highest number was 48 - worn by Nathan Krakouer for 15 games between 2015-16, and Lindsay Thomas for seven games in 2018.

The Power and the Lions will face-off at 4.10pm on Sunday afternoon, with kids under the age of 15 in for free.