JACK Trengove describes his new start at Port Adelaide as a “free kick”. But the former Melbourne captain knows he still has to get the ball to take advantage of this AFL lifeline he grabbed at Alberton on Friday.
And the critical issue – after playing just seven AFL games in the past four seasons – is ending an injury curse that derailed Trengove’s promising career with the Demons where in 2012 the midfielder became the youngest captain in VFL-AFL history at age 20.
“I’m still to complete a full pre-season (since the foot injury began early in 2014 and wiped out the 2015 season),” Trengove said. “But I plan to do this pre-season – and get my body in tip-top condition.
“The Port Adelaide conditioning staff is well known for its work. And I have nothing to lose in this opportunity, so I am going to give it everything I’ve got.
“I’ll push my body to the absolute extreme – and hope that translates to playing good football.”
Trengove, 26, will arrive at Alberton for pre-season training on Monday, November 27 as part of the Power’s major rebuild in the off-season that, so far, has delivered Melbourne team-mate Jack Watts, free agents Tom Rockliff and Steven Motlop and delisted Gold Coast defender Trent McKenzie.
In his interview session with Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley on Thursday, Trengove – the No. 2 draft pick in 2009 – was left with an enormous challenge to find his place in the Power 22.
“The greatest thing about the chat with Ken Hinkley was how he was upfront and honest he was about what opportunity looks like (at Port Adelaide),” Trengove said. “It is a great midfield, there are great players at half-forward, the wings and half-back – so it is going to be hard to work my way into the team.
“But I am going to work my butt off to earn a role. There are no guarantees. I’ll be flying under the radar to low expectations, but I will be working my backside off to get my chance.”
Trengove had virtually closed the book on his AFL career before Hinkley offered a place at Alberton.
“I was sitting on my couch preparing for an exam,” Trengove said. “It’s a serious roller-coaster (the AFL). One minute I was thinking my career was done and I was in full preparation for life after football. I was seeing the writing on the wall.
“The next minute, I am meeting Ken Hinkley and doing a medical at Port Adelaide.”
Port Adelaide’s next decision with the South Australian is whether to hand him the No. 12 jumper left behind by Jackson Trengove who has taken up free agency with the Western Bulldogs.
“How ironic – one J. Trengove out, one J. Trengove in,” Trengove said. “Port Adelaide has given me that one more opportunity I was seeking. It is a free kick – and I want to make the most of it.”