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Frampton comes alive: long-awaited debut for injury-plagued Power ruck

Football

Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley says he’s excited about the long-awaited AFL debut of ruckman Billy Frampton for the Power’s last-gasp chance for an unlikely finals berth against Essendon tonight.

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The 21-year-old West Australian has been picked to debut as Port seeks to salvage their season.

The Power, to sneak into the finals, must down Essendon at Adelaide Oval and hope Geelong lose to lowly Gold Coast tomorrow.

Hinkley said Frampton’s debut, in his fourth season on the Power’s list, will allow lead ruckman Paddy Ryder to be deployed in attack more frequently against the Bombers.

“They will share the (forward) role around a little bit,” Hinkley said of Ryder and Frampton.

“It helps give us a bit more of a focus in our forward line because we understand we haven’t got Charlie (Dixon) there, so we’re trying to cover that using a bit of Paddy, a bit of Billy in that spot.

“Billy also kicks goals. He does go forward and clunk a couple in the SANFL so hopefully he can do that in his AFL debut.

“It’s pretty exciting … this is his opportunity and I’m sure he’ll take it.”

Injury-plagued Frampton, who was mothballed after a shoulder reconstruction late last year, is among three changes to Port’s side which lost against Collingwood last weekend – the Power’s fifth defeat in six games.

Midfielder Sam Powell-Pepper and Jake Neade have been recalled with Riley Bonner and Aidyn Johnson dropped and Tom Rockliff sidelined by injury.

Ex-Brisbane captain Rockliff will soon have shoulder surgery, ending his season regardless if Port pinch a finals spot.

Hinkley said irrespective of his club’s long-shot finals chances, Port will be at full-throttle.

“It’s really important to play well whenever you play,” he said.

“That is the key to any football side, you want to represent your team and each other really strongly.

“There will always be winners and losers in a football season. But every time you play, there should be a way you want to play and we want to play really strong, tough footy.”

Meanwhile, Adelaide has named a long-awaited debutant of its own – its sixth of the season – for tomorrow night’s dead-rubber clash with wooden-spooner Carlton.

Forward Elliott Himmelberg, the younger brother of Giant Harrison Himmelberg, comes into the side for defender Tom Doedee, who underwent surgery on Wednesday for a fractured collarbone.

The 20-year-old, 198cm key position prospect, who signed a contract extension in the pre-season, has kicked 11 goals from his last five games in the SANFL, including a five-goal haul against North Adelaide.

He was the 51st overall pick of the 2016 AFL Draft.

The Crows have surprisingly dropped in-form – but out of contract – defender Kyle Cheney, bringing in tall backman Alex Keath.

Adelaide assistant coach Ben Hart told the club’s website Cheney “can count himself a little unlucky [as] his form’s been pretty solid but Carlton have a bit of height so Keathy comes in”.

-with AAP

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