Boak battered but fit to face Bombers

Wingard ruled out of round 32:26

AFL: Chad Wingard has been ruled out of Port Adelaide's round three clash with Essendon due to a hamstring injury.

Travis Boak says he’s fit to take on the Bombers. Picture: Getty Images


PORT ADELAIDE captain Travis Boak is battered and bruised - more to his pride than his body - but not beaten for Friday night’s clash with Essendon at Adelaide Oval.

Boak last night trained without restriction at the Oval to dismiss the continuing concern on the midfielder’s fitness - all created by his repeated, long absences from the field during Showdown 40 on Saturday.

“I’m fine ... I am fine,” Boak told The Advertiser as coach Ken Hinkley prepared for selection.

Port will be without All-Australian forward Chad Wingard and Power vice-captain Hamish Hartlett (hamstring concerns).

But Boak, after moving freely in his running on Wednesday night, does concede to taking a physical and emotional battering while working against the intense Crows – particularly at stoppages.

“You get battered and bruised in this game,” Boak said.

“And that is what happened against the Crows. I did come off the field – and I was battered and bruised. But right now, I am fine – ready to go.”

Boak insists he started the derby healthy – and will do the same tomorrow night against the recharged Bombers, as the Power (1-1) is compelled to respond to its 58-point Showdown thrashing.

“I went into the game completely fine – and it is the same (for Essendon),” Boak said.

Travis Boak says he’s fit to take on the Bombers. Picture: Getty Images

Travis Boak says he’s fit to take on the Bombers. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Of the images of Boak leaving the field on Saturday – being shown repeatedly on television since the derby ended – the Power captain says: “I got a little knock ... and there was some pain so I had to stop but that’s where it ends – I did play out the second half.”

Boak finished the derby with 23 disposals and two goals – after 17 and one goal in the season-opener against St Kilda.

His 20-disposal average this season (down from 25 last season) is his second-lowest count since his debut season in 2007.

This is a reflection of the intense pressure being placed on the Power midfielders as opponents play accountable football denying key Port Adelaide playmakers any time or space to command the game.

Hinkley says Boak would be “insulted” if anyone tried to link his form line with injury.

“There is absolutely nothing wrong with Travis,” Hinkley said.

“He would be insulted if you thought his form was the result of being unfit. He would not take the field.

“He is as fit as he needs to be – and he is as fit as he should be. He probably has not delivered to the levels we are so used to. That happens.”

Port Adelaide tomorrow night – in the first of its two Friday Night Football clashes this season, both at the Oval – will dedicate the game to its Foodbank “Power to End Hunger” campaign.

Power fans are being asked to load their bags with cans of tuna to be left in a custom-built football that will be the collection tub at the Oval’s Southern Plaza.

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