Todd talks about the year ahead

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - FRONT PAGE - By JAMIE LOWE

Todd Mar­shall’s goal this year is to se­cure a po­si­tion in Port Ade­laide’s for­ward line.

Af­ter win­ning a spot in Port’s fi­nal three games last sea­son, in­clud­ing the club’s over­time fi­nal loss to West Coast, that taste of footy at the high­est level has given the Deni teenager a hunger for more.

It will be a tough ask for the 18 year-old how­ever, with the Power re­cruit­ing 2008 num­ber one AFL draft pick Jack Watts dur­ing the trade pe­riod.

But Mar­shall — who spoke to the Pas­toral Times af­ter train­ing on Wed­nes­day — said Watts’ move has been a pos­i­tive for the club, and for him per­son­ally.

‘‘I’ve been able to work closely with Wattsy since he joined the for­wards’ group,’’ Mar­shall said.

‘‘He’s been around in the AFL for a while now and com­ing from another club he brings a bit of a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive with his ex­pe­ri­ences.

‘‘He’s also been really good with ad­vice for me.

‘‘I don’t be­lieve his ad­di­tion to the side will neg­a­tively im­pact my chances of play­ing se­nior footy.

‘‘Ken (Hink­ley) has said that we all need to put the work in pre­sea­son, so I’m go­ing to train as well as I can and hope that my name is called for the side in round one.’’

Mar­shall had a tremen­dous first year in the AFL, mak­ing his se­nior de­but in round 22 against the Western Bull­dogs.

The 198cm for­ward kept his spot in the side, kick­ing his first AFL goal against the Gold Coast Suns the fol­low­ing week be­fore be­ing se­lected for their elim­i­na­tion fi­nal against West Coast Ea­gles.

De­spite go­ing down to the Ea­gles with a goal af­ter the siren by mid­fielder Luke Shuey in ex­tra time, Mar­shall said it was a great ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘‘I didn’t ex­pect to make my de­but last year, let alone play an AFL fi­nal,’’ he said.

‘‘It was a really good sur­prise for me and to play three games at the end of the sea­son gave me some ex­tra con­fi­dence.

‘‘As the year went on I knew what role I was play­ing and I played a lot bet­ter footy in the sec­ond half of the year be­cause of that.

‘‘The fi­nals loss does sting a lit­tle bit. We talked about it briefly be­fore the Christ­mas break but it’s in the past now.’’

Mar­shall and his Port Ade­laide team­mates re­turned to the train­ing track on Mon­day, start­ing with a few footy drills to ease them­selves back into it.

The former Deni Rams ju­nior said it was good to start with the main group this year, af­ter a nig­gling quad in­jury forced him to train in the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion group dur­ing his first pre-sea­son.

‘‘I missed out on the JLT Com­mu­nity se­ries last year so I’m aim­ing to play in it this year,’’ he said.

‘‘It’ll be a great op­por­tu­nity to play along­side the new re­cruits and draftees and to start work­ing on our game plan to­gether.

‘‘The first year play­ers have all set­tled in well and with three of us (Mar­shall, Sam Pow­ell-Pep­per and Joe At­ley) mak­ing our de­buts last year, they’re con­fi­dent in them­selves.

‘‘Tom Rock­liff has also made a big im­pact. With Rocky be­ing a cap­tain at Bris­bane pre­vi­ously, he’s a nat­u­ral leader.

‘‘In meet­ings he’s pretty vo­cal and he’s put a few new ideas out there com­ing from a dif­fer­ent club.

‘‘The pre-sea­son comp will be an op­por­tu­nity for me to put my hand up for round one se­lec­tion so I’m pretty ex­cited to get out there and play.’’

Todd Mar­shall, who was back in Deni for Christ­mas with his fam­ily, is aim­ing to play in round one for Port Ade­laide Power.

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