Big Mac primed for Port

7:15:09 PM Wed 8 May, 2002

Valuable young ruckman Beau McDonald did not take part in full training at Coorparoo tonight but is expected to train on Friday in preparation for Sunday’s super showdown with Port Adelaide at the Gabba.
McDonald and key forward Jonathan Brown were the notable absentees from the track tonight. McDonald’s time stretching and on the bike was mostly precautionary, while Brown is ill.
“My aim is to get the ankle right and get through training on Friday,” McDonald said.
McDonald and ruck partner Clark Keating hold one of the bigger keys to the outcome of the game.
They were smashed by Port Adelaide captain Matthew Primus in the opening round of the 2001 season, but rebounded to ensure the Power captain was a non-factor in Round 16 or the Qualifying Final.
McDonald, who has only played 54 games despite giving the appearance of having experienced many more, returned with aplomb last week after three weeks on the sidelines.
He nursed an ankle injury through that period, but did well in tandem with Keating to limit the influence of former All-Australian Cat Steven King last Saturday night.
“It’s been good to get back out there and get some playing time,” McDonald said. “Primus is probably the best ruckman in the competition (and) Steven King is also very good – it was great to get a warm up against someone like that.
”If we can get on top of him (Primus), it will go a long way towards winning the game.”
Primus used his bulk to advantage against the Lions big men in their early clashes last season, but he could not get away from them around the ground.
“He uses his strength and I’d like to think I’m a bit more agile,” McDonald said.
In fairness to Port, they were hamstrung by the loss of Brendon Lade last season, and he is sure to be utilised against the Lions duo, as well as try to expose the Lions’ defence playing up forward.
McDonald has no doubt the game will live up to its pre-match billing as the game of the round.
“They always give a good physical contest and they are quick too, so it should be an exciting game,” he said.