Port Adelaide travels to Alice Springs to face Melbourne as its season hangs in the balance, but it is a challenge the club is ready for.
Its season is on life support. After starting the season 0-5, the club has slowly clawed its way back into finals contention.
However, when you start so far behind the eight ball, any little slip-up in the run-in to the finals is amplified. With a log jam of teams battling it out for the last spots in the finals race, Port can ill-afford a loss to the reigning premiers.
Port Adelaide football boss Chris Davies spoke to media on Friday and said that the challenge of facing Melbourne with its season on the line is something that they are ready for.
“We’re coming up against a group of Melbourne mids at the top of their game,” Davies said.
“We think we’re a better team than what we were when we played them last time. We have our work cut out – a great challenge ahead of us, but as a group, we’re ready for it.”
Port’s clash against Melbourne just got tougher
A clash against Melbourne is a tough assignment at the best of times. But things got a little tougher for the boys from Alberton when news dropped the coach Ken Hinkley would not make the trip to the red center after being placed in H&S protocols.
Despite this unlucky news, Davies says that Hinkley will still have a part to play on game day on Sunday.
“Ken is feeling fine,” Davies said.
“He’ll be dialled into the box [on Sunday]. We’ll leave it to Nathan Bassett to coordinate the messaging at the breaks, and Brett Montgomery will remain in charge of the midfield in what is a really important area for us this week.”
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With Clayton Oliver out of the game due to a hand injury, Melbourne will be down a midfielder. Port will again be without Scott Lycett after the ruckman was thought to be making his long-awaited return, only for a shoulder infection to stop him in his tracks.
A game and a decent amount of percentage outside the top eight, the Power have it all to do. While many think Ken Hinkley’s men are out of finals calculations, mathematically, they are still in with a shot.
Drop the game on Sunday, and if other results go against them, Port’s season could be over with games to play. Something that, at the start of the year, would have been impossible to think.
The club has steadied the ship after its 0-5 start to now be 8-8. But there is still plenty of work to do if Port is to make it into the finals series.
With a tough month to come, that sees Port face Melbourne, Geelong, Collingwood, and Richmond, to say that the club faces an uphill task to play finals in 2022 is an understatement, but it’s not impossible.
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