January 12, 2018

Todd Marshall, who was back in Deni for Christmas with his family, is aiming to play in round one for Port Adelaide Power.

Todd Marshall’s goal this year is to secure a position in Port Adelaide’s forward line.

After winning a spot in Port’s final three games last season, including the club’s overtime final loss to West Coast, that taste of footy at the highest level has given the Deni teenager a hunger for more.

It will be a tough ask for the 18 year-old however, with the Power recruiting 2008 number one AFL draft pick Jack Watts during the trade period.

But Marshall — who spoke to the Pastoral Times after training on Wednesday — said Watts’ move has been a positive for the club, and for him personally.

‘‘I’ve been able to work closely with Wattsy since he joined the forwards’ group,’’ Marshall said.

‘‘He’s been around in the AFL for a while now and coming from another club he brings a bit of a different perspective with his experiences.

‘‘He’s also been really good with advice for me.

‘‘I don’t believe his addition to the side will negatively impact my chances of playing senior footy.

‘‘Ken (Hinkley) has said that we all need to put the work in pre-season, so I’m going to train as well as I can and hope that my name is called for the side in round one.’’

Marshall had a tremendous first year in the AFL, making his senior debut in round 22 against the Western Bulldogs.

The 198cm forward kept his spot in the side, kicking his first AFL goal against the Gold Coast Suns the following week before being selected for their elimination final against West Coast Eagles.

Despite going down to the Eagles with a goal after the siren by midfielder Luke Shuey in extra time, Marshall said it was a great experience.

‘‘I didn’t expect to make my debut last year, let alone play an AFL final,’’ he said.

‘‘It was a really good surprise for me and to play three games at the end of the season gave me some extra confidence.

‘‘As the year went on I knew what role I was playing and I played a lot better footy in the second half of the year because of that.

‘‘The finals loss does sting a little bit. We talked about it briefly before the Christmas break but it’s in the past now.’’

Marshall and his Port Adelaide teammates returned to the training track on Monday, starting with a few footy drills to ease themselves back into it.

The former Deni Rams junior said it was good to start with the main group this year, after a niggling quad injury forced him to train in the rehabilitation group during his first pre-season.

‘‘I missed out on the JLT Community series last year so I’m aiming to play in it this year,’’ he said.

‘‘It’ll be a great opportunity to play alongside the new recruits and draftees and to start working on our game plan together.

‘‘The first year players have all settled in well and with three of us (Marshall, Sam Powell-Pepper and Joe Atley) making our debuts last year, they’re confident in themselves.

‘‘Tom Rockliff has also made a big impact. With Rocky being a captain at Brisbane previously, he’s a natural leader.

‘‘In meetings he’s pretty vocal and he’s put a few new ideas out there coming from a different club.

‘‘The pre-season comp will be an opportunity for me to put my hand up for round one selection so I’m pretty excited to get out there and play.’’

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