PORT ADELAIDE coach Matthew Lokan praised the efforts of his players after its stunning comeback win over Central District at Alberton Oval on Saturday.
SANFL contracted players Ethan Moore and Luke Surman were terrific in the win and Lokan said they, and the other contracted players, are developing nicely.
“I think the contracted guys have been really solid for us,” Lokan said.
“They're young, and they're developing and they've still got some developments to go, but they continually rock up and want to improve and we had nine contracted guys today.
“We don't ask them to go out there and be our best players, but to go out there and compete for it.
“Surman, he's just got to get some match fitness, he hasn't played much football over the last 12 months and to be able to get some continuity with his game will be really important for us. He's got a big body and can take a catch and he'll build on here.”
Port struggled in the first half, kicking only 2.8 to the main change, but Lokan was still optimistic at the break.
“We felt like we had enough of the ball in the first half, and we perhaps just wasted a few opportunities going forward,” he said.
“To be able to convert, we got some speed around the ball with Marty Frederick and Miles Bergman coming up to the wing and were able to get some better penetration into a forward half.
“It was really pleasing. I'm really proud of the guys, we had a really young group today. Lost a couple of lads yesterday with (Peter) Ladhams and (Sam) Mayes as emergency and the sub.”
Sam Hayes was again terrific in the ruck for the Magpies, and Lokan said he’s improved many parts of his game.
“He's been super for us in the trial match period and even last week against Norwood, he was really competitive his strengths are his ruck craft and his ability to be able to hit the ball out at stoppages is really important for us and he's working his game around the ground,” he said.
“I don't exactly know how many marks he took today but his contested marks have been an improved part of his game and he has been really good for us.”
Port Adelaide will take on South Adelaide at Noarlunga next Saturday in its Round 3 clash.