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Port, Crows primed for "final"

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Port Adelaide captain Travis Boak sees no point playing down Saturday’s AFL grudge match against Adelaide.

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Boak said Port, winners in four of the past six against the Crows, embrace the hype of the home-town clashes and have three players lining up to replace wingman Matt White, sidelined with a pectoral injury.

“Showdowns have always been like finals,” Boak told reporters today.

“And finals footy is contested footy and really tight games. And I’m thinking it will be along the same path.”

Ex-Melbourne utility Jimmy Toumpas could debut for the club in Saturday’s Adelaide Oval fixture, with Karl Amon and Aaron Young also in the frame.

Port banked a 33-point season-opening win against St Kilda despite ruckman Matthew Lobbe copping a touch-up from young Saint Tom Hickey, who had 57 hitouts and 20 disposals.

Lobbe’s ability to carry Port’s rucks given the suspension of Paddy Ryder is a talking point, but Boak said the tapman wasn’t listening.

“Lobbes is a pretty strong person so he doesn’t listen to too much outside talk,” Boak said.

“He loves that added pressure and that whole responsibility of being the only ruckman and taking control in the midfield.

“And he’s one that if he is struggling he will let us know. And he’s certainly not in that space.”

Lobbe on Saturday resumes his rivalry with Adelaide’s Sam Jacobs, the Showdown medal winner in 2014 and 2012.

“He’s ready to take on the challenge,” Boak said.

“He’s more excited than ever to take on one of the best ruckmen in the league in Sammy Jacobs so we’re certainly backing him in for that.”

Crows captain Taylor Walker has allayed concerns over a lingering foot injury, declaring himself a certain starter against his team’s arch-rival.

Walker returned to Adelaide wearing a protective moon boot after the Crows’ season-opening loss to North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium last Saturday night.

Walker said today he had been troubled by a sore foot for the past month but was in no doubt to front against the Power in Saturday’s showdown at Adelaide Oval.

“I’m just trying to get a bit of weight off it early in the week,” he told reporters.

“We have got our main session today [and] I will do the full session.

“It won’t effect me at all… I have had a bit of a sore foot for over a month or so now and Etihad is probably the hardest deck that we play on.”

The Crows enter the Port clash after slipping to a 10-point away loss to North Melbourne which Walker blamed largely on ill-discipline.

Adelaide conceded some costly 50 metre penalties, among them a goal after Scott Thompson was penalised under the new 10m protected zone rule.

“There were some things that we could control that we will change in critical moments,” Walker said.

“We understand we played some really good footy against North but not quite good enough.

“There were a couple of 50 metre penalties with the new rules that we are still trying to get a grasp on.

“But if we can fix those up, there’s a few things that will help us.”

Midfielder Matt Crouch avoided sanction for his high hit on North’s Jarrad Waite, while Cam Ellis-Yolmen and Ricky Henderson are among players pressing for selection after strong SANFL games.

Both AFL clubs have opted against honouring slain Crows coach and former Port assistant Phil Walsh again with the best-afield medal in Saturday’s showdown.

Last season, Adelaide’s Scott Thompson won the re-named Phil Walsh medal a fortnight after the death of the first-year coach.

On Saturday, though, the accolade will revert to its former title, the Showdown medal.

“Both clubs have agreed on going back to normal,” Walker said.

“But it was a great tribute for not only SA footy but also AFL to have the Phil Walsh medal last year… I thought it was a a great spectacle.”

Port’s retired midfielder Josh Francou has three medals, the most of any player, while current stars Sam Jacobs (Adelaide) and Robbie Gray (Port) are among a batch of dual-medallists.

-AAP

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