Port pumped up for clash with Kangaroos - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Port pumped up for clash with Kangaroos

By Daniel Brettig 09/07/2008 05:27:35 PM Comments (0)

There were more than a few sore bodies to emerge from Port Adelaide's main training session as the Power pushed hard to be ready for a desperate North Melbourne on Saturday night.

Youngsters Robbie Gray and Matt Thomas both appeared to pull up with leg injuries of varying seriousness, while few escaped the deafening roar of coach Mark Williams.

Port's players are in numerous cases playing for their futures, ahead of a draft and trading period likely to be one of the most hotly-contested for some years. Clubs are sweating on the last available talent before the pool is diluted by the entry of AFL expansion teams from western Sydney and the Gold Coast.

"Every player is feeling the heat. That's what comes with a few losses," Port forward Brett Ebert said.

"We've had our mid-year break and had a look at a few things. We're going to be out there playing fast, exciting footy and those guys (playing for their careers) are going to be part of it."

Ebert himself is out of contract at the end of 2008 but said negotiations between his father, Port Magpies legend Russell Ebert, and the club were progressing smoothly.

Less certain is the Power's ability to draw strong crowds to AAMI Stadium, and given North Melbourne's historically meagre following, Port will be hard pressed to get more than 20,000 spectators.

Ebert implored the club's fan base to vote with their feet on Saturday night.

"The Port Adelaide footy club is pretty proud and we've got a long history," he said.

"When you're losing a lot of things go down, but we need that crowd support.

"It's huge for us and we don't get big crowds at the best of times.

"The Showdown is an example of playing in front of a massive crowd and that always pumps the boys up."

Lately Port have not given their fans much reason to show up, losing six of seven games in Adelaide this season.

"We love playing at home and having the home crowd and a couple of those games got away from us and were disappointing," Ebert said.

"We pride ourselves on winning at home and we've got signs up around the place saying we must win at home. It's very frustrating because we're disappointing our crowd."

Ace utility Chad Cornes looks likely to regain his place this week despite multiple niggling injuries.

"I think Chad will play," Ebert said.

"He's walking wounded at the moment, but if anyone is going to get up and play, its Chad and we look forward to having him back out there."

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