‘Why would you want to coach, seriously?’
Heading into Round 9, Ken Hinkley will be forced to make at least one change to the side that succumbed to St Kilda, with young forward Todd Marshall breaking his thumb and requiring surgery which will keep him out for six weeks.
Some players will also be in the firing line.
Veteran Justin Westhoff was handed a reprieve when Trent McKenzie was a late out with back troubles. I am not sure Westhoff holds his place this week because if McKenzie is passed fit, he will no doubt be straight back into the selected 22.
Resting players could be on the agenda too. Perhaps it is time to give Connor Rozee a break, who has not been living up to his usual lofty standards.
Then there is the midfield group, with Ollie Wines and Riley Bonner possibly being axed, meaning there could be a number of changes.
So, who could Hinkley bring in to face Melbourne on Thursday night?
Trent McKenzie is one of the Power’s most consistent players. He will be looked at this week after having to withdraw late against St Kilda due to back spasms however he will have to train strongly at the club’s main session to be a chance, an automatic selection if fit.
Port were smashed in the middle of the ground last Saturday night and it is vital Scott Lycett returns to the side quickly. He, like McKenzie, will undergo tests on the troublesome knee that sidelined him for the last two matches.
Tom Rockliff is a chance to return after a strong showing in the Power’s trial match against Adelaide on Saturday. Adding him however will mean someone like Sam Powell-Pepper or Wines will miss out as the midfield will become too slow. He will be in the discussion, but I am just not convinced about bringing ‘Rocky’ back this week.
As for Jack Watts, I’m not sure he has done to be left out for so long. Before getting injured in the early stages of last season, he seemed to finally have a role to call his own. Slotting in across half back, he was one of Port’s better performers over the first game-and-a-half before that nasty injury. Maybe a straight swap with Riley Bonner? It is not as farfetched as it sounds.
Finally, Wylie Buzza could replace injured forward Todd Marshall. The ex-Cat could also be used to give Peter Ladhams a chop out against Max Gawn if Lycett fails to overcome his knee injury
Young inside midfielders Joe Atley and Willem Drew impressed in the trial against Adelaide and both have played at AFL level before. If Hinkley wanted to send a message to his midfield group then these two young bulls could get their chance.
I would also like to see Miles Bergman get his debut. With the condensed fixture list, it is only a matter of time before we see he and Mitch Georgiades up forward in the same game, will it be this week?
Ken Hinkley has lost the game advantage on top of the AFL ladder and with a tough set of games coming up, he has to get the team selection right.