Mitchell catches eye at Power
Mitchell catches eye at Power

Sandover medallist Kane Mitchell will play significant minutes in next weekend's NAB Cup opener and has challenged his new teammates with his running ability, according to Port Adelaide director of coaching Alan Richardson.

Mitchell joined the Power after being picked up in the rookie draft and has wasted no time impressing the club's coaching staff.

Richardson said Mitchell had finished a close second to noted runner Kane Cornes in the club's 2km time trials.

"In some ways he has really challenged our group because he is such an impressive athlete, both from an endurance and a repeat speed perspective," Richardson said.

"Given that has been a real focus of our conditioning program, to build our endurance, to build our ability to continue to repeat sprint, he has been very impressive."

Barring injury, the dual Claremont premiership player is a certainty to line up for the Power against St Kilda and Adelaide next weekend, especially with the games to be played consecutively.

"Even though he is a first-year AFL player he has already got a fairly significant base with the fact that he has played WAFL footy, the fact he has played in Perth on the big decks," Richardson said.

"We have seen the influence of WAFL players coming into the AFL, certainly from a running perspective.

"They are in really good shape, so he would be a chance to play significant minutes, not only in round one but in the rounds after that.

"He will play inside and outside midfield, in and around stoppages, out on the wing, but he will also play as a small forward.

"He gets a lot of the footy, not only because he works hard, but because he has got a really good understanding of the game.

"He is going to be a real addition to the team from that perspective."

As a rookie, Mitchell will have to wait for a long-term injury to a teammate to get an opportunity during the regular season.

"History would suggest that will be there," Richardson said.

"There will be someone that has that misfortune, and Kane at this stage, along with the other guys that are on the rookie list, is certainly putting his best foot forward and he will be every chance I would suggest."

Two other West Australians at Port, Ben Newton and Brendon Ah Chee, have overcome a series of injuries which had stifled their development at the club.

The West Australian

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