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Hinkley's discomfort ahead of crunch game

Football

Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley admits he’s uncomfortable heading into Saturday’s AFL crunch game against Collingwood.

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But he takes solace that he’s not the only AFL identity feeling that way.

“We’re like anyone that sits from about fourth through to 10th, we feel a slight uncomfortable feeling,” Hinkley told reporters today.

“We know we have got an opportunity to control our destiny. We will take that opportunity and do everything we can with it.”

Port hold eighth spot, a win ahead of a chasing pack, and are also just one win behind fourth position.

Hinkley’s charges have slid down the ladder with four losses in their past give games.

The past two consecutive defeats have come in sapping fashion: Adelaide pipped Port by three points with a match-winning goal thought to have brushed a post; West Coast last week downed Port by four points with a goal after the final siren.

But Hinkley said his players had remained positive.

“They have gone about their week really positive. They have trained really well, they have been sharp,” he said.

‘There’s no attitude around here at the moment that we’re worried about anything other than our opportunity.

“And our opportunity is to take Collingwood on at the ‘G and we look forward to doing that.”

The Power have beaten the Magpies, who named an unchanged side, in the past four encounters including the past two at the MCG.

But Hinkley conceded some risk with ruckman Paddy Ryder, who was forced out of last week’s game because of a hip injury.

“I’m not confident there’s no risk – there’s always some risk with anyone returning from injury or from carrying some type of injury,” he said.

“But every team going in this weekend is carrying some people who have got some issues or some injury concern and we’re no different.

“We’re confident enough that he has got his power.”

Port also lost spearhead Charlie Dixon (broken leg) and key defender Tom Clurey to a foot injury – he’s unlikely to play again until the finals, should the Power get there.

Maligned recruit Jack Watts was expected to take Dixon’s focal forward role in a revamped attack which Hinkley said would contain an element of surprise.

“Collingwood … no doubt, they would be be sitting here thinking what will we do. And we’re sitting here knowing what we’re going to do,” he said.

– AAP

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