Port Adelaide are hopeful ruckman Matthew Lobbe will return for their AFL Anzac Day blockbuster against Hawthorn.
Lobbe is yet to play this season due to a quad injury, leaving off-season recruit Paddy Ryder to do the bulk of the ruck work.
The 26-year-old Lobbe has been sorely missed, as was the case on Saturday night when North Melbourne’s Todd Goldstein had 49 hitouts against the Power.
Coach Ken Hinkley says Lobbe will undergo a fitness test this week, but the club will again err on the side of caution.
“We are hopeful, but we’re not guaranteed,” Hinkley said, when asked about Lobbe’s chances of playing in the 2014 preliminary final rematch at Adelaide Oval.
“And if there’s any doubt, I’ve seen them turn into 8,10 and 12-week injuries.
“We just won’t go there with Lobbes, he’s really important to our footy club.”
However, veteran Kane Cornes is set to return after being rested from the thrilling eight-point win over North.
“We made a brave decision tonight, leaving Kane out of the side to manage him through the season,” Hinkley said.
“Now we get an opportunity to put Kane back out there next week fresh.”
Ollie Wines will be one enforced omission for the match against the reigning premiers, with the young gun suffering a serious arm injury on Saturday night.
Aaron Young stepped up in Wines’ absence against North, booting the go-ahead goal with a tick over four minutes remaining.
Hinkley backed Young to do the same over the next month.
“He’s one of those blokes that just sits on the fringe a little bit. He’s just got to make his place,” he said.
“I said that to him after the game tonight ..’Ollie is going to go down for a little while. We’re looking for a big-bodied mid. Here’s your turn. Take it and own it’.
“Hopefully he does.”
Hinkley was happy with his side’s resolve in their first win of the season, but added “there’s still lots to do”.
“We’ve got to get something out of this game, not just the four points, that will make us better for the whole season,” he said.