Port's Hartlett primed for AFL return

Port's Hamish Hartlett has dropped two kilograms which he hopes will prevent further injuries.
Port's Hamish Hartlett has dropped two kilograms which he hopes will prevent further injuries.

Port Adelaide vice-captain Hamish Hartlett hopes shedding weight will prolong his AFL career.

The injury-plagued utility has dropped around two kilograms during the AFL shutdown to lighten the load on his body.

Hartlett's past two seasons have been blighted by injury - a knee reconstruction in 2018 forced him out for a year.

And on the comeback trail, Hartlett was troubled by hamstring complaints before coming back to string together the last 11 games of the 2019 season.

The 29-year-old hurt a thigh in Port's opening-round win against the Gold Coast this year before games were suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic - the injury would have sidelined him a month had the season continued.

Hartlett returned to training at around 82 kilograms instead of his usual 84kg in a calculated bid to prevent further injuries.

"I'm a little bit lighter on return," he told reporters on Monday.

"I will try and stay around that weight, it's going to be really important for the upcoming season ...

"I'm not getting any younger and (coach Ken Hinkley) Kenny is saying 'the older you get, the lighter you need to get as well' so I will keep that in mind going forward.

"Particularly for guys like myself who have had some soft tissue issues in their career, it's just less load on the body and less load that the legs have to carry, so it makes sense."

The 165-game veteran, who made his AFL debut in 2009, said he and his teammates had placed "full faith" in Port's fitness staff to get them ready to play again.

The Power meet arch-rivals Adelaide on June 13 when the season resumes.

"You can mount a fair argument to say that we'll be fresher and perhaps the bodies will be better prepared for a game having only five or six weeks' worth of pre-season as opposed to two or three months," Hartlett said.

"And then there's the other way around: that the bodies might not be conditioned to the running aspect of a proper game.

"We will wait and see how things unfold.

"I know from a personal point of view, my body feels really fresh at the moment and I don't think that playing a game in two weeks' time will be too much trouble."

Australian Associated Press