Sport Port boss eyes Tigers as next AFL chapter

21:26  08 april  2021
21:26  08 april  2021 Source:   aap.com.au

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Ken Hinkley isn't reading much into the narrative of two AFL heavyweights trying to climb off the proverbial canvas on Friday night.

Ken Hinkley looking at the camera: Ken Hinkley insists Port Adelaide's heavyweight clash with Richmond won't define a long AFL season. © Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS Ken Hinkley insists Port Adelaide's heavyweight clash with Richmond won't define a long AFL season.

Hinkley's Port is widely touted as the most likely challenger to the reigning champion, Richmond.

Yet both clubs are wobbly entering the Adelaide Oval bout after heavy losses last-start.

The Tigers were smashed by Sydney last Saturday, just hours before West Coast dismantled Port in a 37-point triumph.

Hinkley acknowledges the script of both defeated clubs seeking a response - and the sub-plot of a rematch of last season's preliminary final when Richmond scraped a six-point win.

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But the Power coach says Friday night's spicy encounter is just one early chapter in a season-long book.

"Normally, any team that has got some quality about it, you can respond," he said.

"But we have got two teams who are both trying to respond.

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"So who wins the response ticket that everyone wants to put on the table - it's just part of the season for us and we just need to play a good game."

Port replaced back-up ruckman Peter Ladhams with defender Lachie Jones, an 18-year-old who will make his AFL debut.

The Tigers have two debutants, Will Martyn and Rhyan Mansell, and called on stalwart Bachar Houli and Jack Ross to replace Dion Prestia (hamstring), Kayden McIntosh (concussion) and the omitted Josh Caddy, Derek Eggmolesse-Smith and Daniel Rioli.

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Richmond ace Dustin Martin, as always, looms large in the pre-game planning of an opposition coach.

But Hinkley said he can't afford to be overly focused on the Brownlow winner and triple Norm Smith medallist.

"I listened to (Richmond coach) Damien (Hardwick) talk about him, he said Dustin pretty much does what Dustin likes to do," he said.

"And so there is a challenge in that for the opposition.

"We are really aware of his quality but we are equally aware of the quality of opposition as a collective, he gets a lot of opportunities because of his team.

"We will take our turn and do what we can to limit his damage ... but we are confident we can control their team and he's a part of it."

Major injuries to Tigers in shock AFL loss .
Richmond are facing the prospect of being without captain Trent Cotchin and midfielder Dion Prestia for their blockbuster AFL clash with Port Adelaide.The reigning premiers were blown off the MCG by the youthful Swans on Saturday, with coach Damien Hardwick admitting the 45-point margin flattered his team.

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