Sport Port boss eyes Tigers as next AFL chapter
Why Port Adelaide are struggling more than you think
It’s crunch time for Port Adelaide. The Power have won three of their first four games after coming off a narrow victory over the reigning premiers and continue to be held in high esteem in premiership conversations. Yet quite truthfully the team haven’t played particularly well. Two soft kills to start the season have afforded Port Adelaide a nice percentage and a smooth ride in the media. However, the team have gone from being ranked first in clearances and tackles, second in inside 50s and third for disposals to ranking as a mid-tier club in all categories this year.
Ken Hinkley isn't reading much into the narrative of two AFL heavyweights trying to climb off the proverbial canvas on Friday night.
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.
Six talking points from Round 4 of the AFL
It was a wild weekend of footy – how many tips did you get right on Saturday? Let’s get into the big talking points. The Swans keep on keepin’ on You just know there’s going to be a point where Sydney staggers a little. It’s more or less inevitable, and there was a thought Thursday night’s clash against Essendon would be that game. Seven of the last ten games between the two clubs have ended in wins under a goal, and Essendon – albeit against weak opposition – had bounced back last week to earn their first win of the season. For a while, it looked like the Bombers might score the upset.
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.
The Roar's AFL expert tips and predictions: Round 5
If you got all four of Saturday’s matches right last week, I’m keen to hear your thoughts on tonight’s lottery numbers. We begged and pleaded for an easy round but, instead, we saw West Coast squander a five-goal lead to St Kilda, while Collingwood looked like they’d forgotten to download the AFL’s 2020 balance patch and made the Giants look like the OP team of years gone by. That made it a third five in four weeks for myself, with Liam Salter also collecting a second straight five and Dem Panopoulos crashing to a horrid score of four. The Crowd, of course, somehow managed six – stuff the lot of yas.
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.