Port Adelaide players are still burning from the pain of last year’s AFL preliminary final loss to Hawthorn, captain Travis Boak says.
But Boak says Port can’t exact any revenge on the Hawks in Saturday night’s rematch at Adelaide Oval.
“If we win on the weekend it still makes no difference, they still won the flag,” Boak told reporters on Wednesday.
“But certainly it burns and it really hurt our group and we made sure we kept that in the back of our minds to help drive us to get better.
“We weren’t good enough on the day to win the game but certainly that helped drive our group through pre-season.”
Hawthorn pipped Port by three points in the MCG preliminary final and Boak was in doubt the Hawks remain the competition’s benchmark.
Port broke through for its first win of the season last weekend against North Melbourne, after being defeated by powerhouses Fremantle and Sydney.
“We have played some big games so far already,” Boak said.
“We got a lot of confidence from the weekend, not from just the result but the way we fought it out.
“North got the lead back with four or five minutes to go – we were zip and two, we could have quite easily folded.
“But the way our guys really fought on was fantastic.”
Power ruckman Matthew Lobbe is pressing to return from a thigh injury and play his first game of the season on Saturday night.
Lobbe and utility Matthew White, who suffered an ankle injury against the Kangaroos, would face fitness tests to determine their availability, Boak said.