After several players were left battered and bruised against Richmond, Ken Hinkley will be forced into at least two changes for the clash with Carlton.
Port Adelaide have suffered for their win over the reigning premier on Friday night. The Power felt the full force of a Richmond side desperate to atone for their loss against Sydney.
Losing Zak Butters(ankle) and Xavier Duursma (knee) to injury and both require surgery. Several others in Connor Rozee, Orazio Fantasia, Tom Clurey and Tom Jonas all suffered knocks.
With at least a couple of changes needing to be made, who does Hinkley turn to? Given that Marshall was named to take on the Tigers suggests to me that he will likely be the first name to come up. Then there is Sam Mayes who was the medical sub against Richmond and only played 12 minutes of action, his name is high on the list too and his versatility could give Hinkley the chance to shuffle the deck for Saturday. But what if Hinkley and his coaching group wanted to go for something a little different?
After being an AFL emergency and having some seriously good form for the Magpies, Boyd Woodcock could slot into the Butters role of midfield/forward and do a serviceable job. It will largely depend on how Port wants to line up against the Blues and the fact is that Hinkley is not short of options.
Having some serious depth at their disposal the selection committee is almost spoilt for choice. When you have names like Jarrod Lienert who had a terrific game for the Magpies against Centrals and can be played on a wing, Kane Farrell, forgotten man Trent McKenzie along with youngster Jackson Mead. Not to mention Miles Bergman and suddenly you have 26 players to go into a 22-man side.
Being at the MCG, there is going to be acres of space so will Port go for some more speed? Or will they go with the tall forward line of Charlie Dixon, Mitch Georgiades, Peter Ladhams, and Todd Marshall?
Personally, it would be good to see some of the younger brigade who have impresses at SANFL level in Jackson Mead, Boyd Woodcock, and Miles Bergman but either way it is going to be good to see just how good Port’s depth is.
Carlton has proved notoriously difficult to be beaten by the Power in recent years with a Robbie Gray after the siren goal to get Port over the line last year and in 2019 Hinkley's side just managed to get the best of the Blues by 16 points. So Saturday night’s game is going to be anything but easy and with Carlton coming off back-to-back wins over Fremantle and Gold Coast, confidence will be high in David Teague’s camp.
After such a big build-up and game against the Tigers, sometimes teams can suffer a letdown the week after and end up losing a match they otherwise wouldn’t. Port will have to be on their game if they are to avoid what would be an embarrassing defeat and essentially make their win over Richmond null and void.
Port Adelaide should still have enough quality to get past a surging Carlton and with plenty of players pushing for AFL selection, we could be seeing some news faces line up on the weekend.