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Eddy ready as Port upgrades rookie pair

Football

Just days after staking his claim for a round one berth with an explosive five-goal preseason performance against Hawthorn, rookie recruit Brett Eddy has found himself on Port Adelaide’s senior list.

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The club confirmed his upgrade – and that of 2015 rookie recruit Dan Houston – this morning, after strong showings by both in the JLT Community Series.

Eddy, the 27-year-old SANFL Ken Farmer Medallist, rocketed into contention after kicking four of his five goals in a 10-minute purple patch during the third quarter at Hickinbotham Oval, his old home ground for the Panthers.

“It’s hard to not like Brett’s story,” Power coach Ken Hinkley said in a statement today.

“It’s one of persistence, and at every point I’ve spoken to him he’s wanted the opportunity and the chance to prove himself… he’s done that all the way through the pre-season to the point that he’s an upgraded rookie and a chance to make his debut in Round One.”

Hinkley said Eddy was “just a smart player”.

“It shows natural footballers can make it at the top level,” he said.

Former Oakleigh Chargers captain Houston, 19, has shown poise in defence during the preseason, despite being recruited ostensibly to kick goals.

He played 10 SANFL games last year after being taken at pick 45 in the rookie draft.

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Dan Houston has reinvented himself in defence. Photo: Kane Chenoweth / PAFC

“Dan shows what can be achieved from a good pre-season,” said Hinkley.

“He wouldn’t have given himself much of a chance playing much JLT football this year, let alone AFL [but] a change of position to half-back from half-forward late last year has seen him show really rapid growth – his poise and composure down there has stood out, as has his leadership.”

Meanwhile, the Crows are racing the clock to get skipper Taylor Walker fir for Round One against the ominous Greater Western Sydney, after he left the field with hamstring tightness in last week’s JLT Community Series win over Brisbane.

General Manager of High Performance Matt Hass told the club’s website today: “We took a pretty conservative approach… we took him from the ground, iced up and made sure that he didn’t do any damage to that hamstring.”

“We’ve investigated it and he’s commenced running already this week… he’s doing everything he can to tick the boxes that he needs to, to try and get up for Round One.”

Midfield mainstay Rory Sloane was “progressing really well”, Hass said, but “we’re basically guided by the surgeon on healing timeframes” for his fractured eye-socket.

The Crows said fellow midfielders Brad Crouch (hamstring) and Scott Thompson (shoulder) would return through the SANFL after missing the club’s preseason campaign.

“I’ve been really impressed with ‘Crouchy’ in his hamstring rehab. He’s re-introduced all his high-speed running and kicking,” said Hass.

“We expect him to start playing minutes at SANFL level in the coming weeks.”

Defender Jake Lever, meanwhile, is “ready to return” from a hamstring strain that kept him out of preseason action.

Port begins a tough early-season run against Sydney at the SCG on Saturday week, with the Crows hosting the Giants the following day.

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