Op­tus sur­face fears keep Port duo home

The West Australian - - SPORT - RICHARD EARLE

... 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.

Pic­ture: News Corp

Power for­ward Char­lie Dixon booted five goals on his re­turn from a bro­ken leg against Sturt in the SANFL last Satur­day.

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