After just five rounds into the AFL season, Port Adelaide has players going down everywhere. As a result, several players could get their chance to impress.
To win a premiership you need a lot of things to go right. You need a bit of luck, have to play well and you have to have a good run with injuries.
For Port Adelaide, they have played well (West Coast game aside) to sit 4-1 but there is now a common theme starting to develop, injuries. The Power had a good run until the Richmond game. Young guns in Zak Butters and Xavier Duursma are out for the foreseeable future with Butters hopefully back in the next three weeks while Xavier will be lucky to be back by July.
To go with those two, Connor Rozee, Tom Clurey, and Tom Jonas also suffered significant knocks and carried them into the Carlton game. Ollie Wines stated that had the match been a couple of days earlier, several players would not have taken their place in Port’s selected side.
It was clear players were carrying knocks throughout the game and they battled on manfully. However, the injuries still keep coming as three more players developed injuries. Dan Houston hurt his shoulder which did not look good when he was seen in a sling post-game however it was revealed it was just a stinger and not an AC-joint injury. He is going to be given every chance to play on Sunday night.
Then there is Hamish Hartlett. Like Rozee against Richmond, Hartlett suffered a corked thigh early on and could barely walk but played out the game. Add to that young gun Lachie Jones hurt his ankle and news coming out today is that he is out for a month with a syndesmosis injury. According to the club, surgery was the best option for the cult figure, and he will be out for around four weeks.
So if Ken Hinkley has to shuffle the deck last week, he has to do so even more now. Although Port coped well with the losses of Butters and Duursma to go with several others not 100%, there is only so long you can go on like that.
Port should have enough depth to cover the loss of Jones and considering he was not in the starting side for the first three rounds anyway, having someone step in should be relatively straight forward and the same goes for Hartlett should he miss Sunday’s game.
The Dan Houston injury worried me greatly I must admit. He has been in superb form this season and his delivery inside 50 is a sight to behold. To hear that it was just a bad stinger is great news, even if he is to miss this week, at least it is only one.
Butters, Duursma, Jones, Hartlett, and potentially one or two others will be out for the clash with St. Kilda, so Port Adelaide’s depth will be tested. But make no mistake the club has the players to come in and do a job.
Injuries are slowly mounting for Ken Hinkley and his side, but Port Adelaide’s depth has been highlighted as a major strength. With the likes of Jackson Mead (currently injured), Sam Hayes, Martin Frederick, Ollie Lord, Sam Powell-Pepper and Trent Burgoyne playing good SANFL football while waiting in the wings, there is plenty to get excited about. Add to that, others like Trent McKenzie, Jarrod Lienert, Tom Rockliff, Riley Bonner, and Peter Ladhams, you can see there is strength in numbers.
Injuries can end a premiership campaign as quickly as it started but for Port Adelaide, they have strength in numbers. The great thing? They are not short on experienced players and talented youngsters who are patiently waiting for their chance.