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"Everyone's name was up in the air": Wines backs 'trade bait' duo as Power return to track

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Port Adelaide vice-captain Hamish Hartlett won’t be ostracised after countenancing an AFL trade, teammate Ollie Wines says.

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The Power were willing to offload Hartlett, who held talks with clubs including Richmond and Essendon at the end of the season, but it’s understood his five-year contract proved a sticking point.

Ruckman Matthew Lobbe also made an unsuccessful attempt to find a new home but Wines is confident the duo will be welcomed back with open arms.

“I guess they’re probably the only names that came out in the media but I think everyone’s name was up in the air,” Wines said today as Port’s younger players returned to begin pre-season training.

“We back them to the moon. We know what Harts and Lobbe are capable of at their best and we’re all looking to get to that best this year.”

Port’s first to fourth year players returned to training with the disappointment of another season without a finals appearance still fresh in their minds.

The Power will be bolstered by the return of former Bombers Paddy Ryder and Angus Monfries, who missed all of last season suspended over Essendon’s supplements saga.

But after an underwhelming trade period, Wines admits it will take big improvement for Port to return to their form in 2014 when they narrowly missed out on making the grand final.

“From the previous two years it’s probably fair enough we don’t have any external expectations on us to do well,” he said.

“We want to be that team we were a few years ago. We don’t like harping on about where we got to but we know our list is the same (and) as players we’re as fit as we’ve ever been.

“It’s probably no mystery to anyone that watches footy it’s probably our kicking efficiency and skill efficiency that lets us down at times.

“Our fitness relies on being able to hit targets and not have silly turnovers so I think once we get our kicking efficiency up to scratch … our game comes together.”

Star forward Chad Wingard (finger) and defenders Jack Hombsch (hip) and Logan Austin (ankle) are among those who went under the knife at the end of the season but have all recovered well.

-AAP

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