Optus surface fears keep Port duo home
... we are really mindful of the surface. Both boys are coming off significant leg injuries. Ken Hinkley
Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley couldn’t be happier with the SANFL return of Charlie Dixon last Saturday, but will most likely err on the side of caution and give both the 200cm forward and co-captain Ollie Wines another run with the reserves.
Port face Fremantle at Optus Stadium on Saturday, with the hard surface expected to force their hand on the injured duo.
Dixon, in his first game since breaking his leg 10 months ago, booted five goals and took six marks alongside Wines, who starred with 30 disposals in his return from a broken ankle in the SANFL win against Sturt.
But Hinkley said they could both do with an extra week of conditioning, particularly given the side was travelling to Perth.
“We certainly couldn’t be happier with his return,” Hinkley said of Dixon on SEN.
“But I think it would be wrong if we didn’t give Charlie another game (in the SANFL). He’s got back quite quickly from six weeks ago to where he is today.
“Whether it be Perth, Marvel or Shanghai — that ground was quite firm as well — we are really mindful of the surface.
“Both boys are coming off significant leg injuries.
“Probably the most important factor, though, is whether they are conditioned enough.”
Wines has been sidelined with a broken fibula since Port’s round seven loss to Collingwood at Marvel Stadium and Hinkley said it was “probably more likely than not that we’ll give him another game in the Magpies”.
Power vice-captain Hamish Hartlett also featured in the starstudded Magpies SANFL side on Saturday and was the most likely of the trio to make the trip for the clash against Fremantle.
“We’re pretty keen for Hammer to come back into the team and he’s done everything we’ve wanted,” Hinkley said of Hartlett, who has battled back from a knee reconstruction and hamstring injury.
Brad Ebert will consult a neurologist in Melbourne today after missing four games with concussion issues. Hinkley said he would most likely feature in the SANFL if he got the all clear to resume to avoid the Perth trip.
Power forward Charlie Dixon booted five goals on his return from a broken leg against Sturt in the SANFL last Saturday.