Port look to Wilson factor to beat Hawks - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Port look to Wilson factor to beat Hawks

By Daniel Brettig 12/05/2008 04:37:07 PM Comments (0)

When Michael Wilson plays, his Port Adelaide teammates feel like they can beat anyone.

So it is looming as a tremendous stroke of fortune that Wilson is likely to be available for the first time this year when the Power take on high-flyers Hawthorn this Saturday in Launceston.

Port's slim chances of challenging Geelong in last year's grand final were snapped with Wilson's Achilles tendon in the preliminary, but a long rehabilitation has him in line to play at Aurora Stadium.

Though the conservative path would have Wilson resuming for the Port Magpies in the SANFL, Power midfielder Kane Cornes said he would not hesitate in picking him against the hottest team in the land.

"Personally I'd play him, but the club hasn't made that call yet and it'll probably come down to selection on Thursday," Cornes said.

"He'll play for someone, whether it's us or Port Magpies I'm not sure, but if it was me picking the team I'd play him."

There is a certain mystique surrounding Wilson due to the effect he has on Port collectively when he plays - at a basic level, his natural hardness at the football seems to become contagious.

"Every time he plays, the players really get behind him and he gets around us and some of the greatest wins have been because of him," Cornes said.

"Certainly coming up against the top side you want all your good players out there and he's certainly one of our good players.

"He can play through the midfield and off the bench and add a stronger body and hardness around the footy."

Strength and hardness have been two qualities worked on by Port over the Dream Team break period, and Cornes said he had returned from the AFL 150th anniversary festivities to find his teammates had caught up noticeably on their fitness and strength levels.

"Speaking to the guys it was good timing for them, they had a really solid week on the track so it was good to get some extra work into us and catch up a little on the advantage the other (non-grand finalist) clubs had in pre-season," he said.

"So they had a really good week and are excited about the biggest challenge in footy."

Much has been made of the Hawks' disciplined use of zones and "clusters" to choke opposition teams on the flanks but Cornes said there was little in it that he had not already seen from other sides this year.

"A lot of teams are doing that these days, not just Hawthorn, so we've come up against that in the first seven rounds, and we train for it," he said.

"I think it's just about moving the ball really quickly, no real secret, and trying to play through the middle and get it into our forward line."

The Power have lost only once in six matches in Launceston.

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