PORT ADELAIDE senior coach Ken Hinkley is proud of the way the club and Matthew Broadbent have come together to ensure the defender returned to senior football so quickly.
Broadbent took some leave from Alberton for mental health reasons, and Hinkley says to see him come back into the side to face Richmond this weekend is a great credit to all involved.
“It’s a great story that he is able to recover,” Ken Hinkley said at a press conference at Adelaide airport ahead of the Power’s huge Round 18 clash with the Tigers.
“To be fair, his football since he’s been back has been absolutely first-class. Brogsy has always been an important member.
“We wrapped our arms around him and gave him as much support as we could, and he’s now back feeling happy and back out there playing with his teammates.”
Broadbent is joined in the side by Dan Houston and rising star Xavier Duursma, who will replace injured trio Ollie Wines, Brad Ebert and Ryan Burton.
“The unfortunate part is the three changes were forced upon us this week,” Hinkley said.
“We’ve lost some experienced players and some important players but luckily for us with the boys we have brought back in have been high-quality players. We’ve lost a few but we’ve gained a few.
“We understand Brad (Ebert) plays a slightly different role but we have players who can play in the forward line and give us that opportunity to score.”
The forward line will have to be reshuffled in the absence of Ebert, but Hinkley says there are plenty of options including the likes of four-time All-Australian Robbie Gray.
Gray has spent more time in the midfield in recent weeks, and Hinkley says it is important to find the right balance of midfield and forward time for the 31-year-old.
“We are reluctant to do either or with Robbie sometimes because he’s so good in most places,” he said.
“You sometimes just have to play where you need to play and we need to get the balance right.
“(Duursma) wasn’t playing terrible footy, we thought as much as anything that with the Magpies playing on the Saturday, it was a great chance to get a freshen up.
“We’ve had a few injuries, so we have the opportunity to put someone back in the side who has been pretty consistent for us for most of the year.”
Hinkley knows the challenge of facing the Tigers on the MCG, and believes they are one of the in-form teams of the competition at the moment, but he says his team is looking forward to the challenge.
“They are in first-class form aren’t they,” he said.
“We would all acknowledge that Richmond are probably the side that everyone is looking at. They are coming pretty strong.
“We’ve got a pretty good record with them but we always know it’s going to be a pretty tough contest with them, especially at the MCG.
“We look forward to going there.”
The Power faces the Tigers at the ‘G on Saturday afternoon, with the first bounce from 1.15pm ACST.