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Hinkley flags changes while Tex pushes status quo

Football

Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley is forecasting selection changes in a bid to arrest his team sliding from AFL finals contention, while under-pressure Crows’ skipper Taylor Walker is hoping Adelaide’s selectors take a different tack.

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The Power have lost four of their past six games to sit in ninth spot on the ladder.

“We need to change some things up and be adventurous,” Hinkley told SEN radio today.

Hinkley said he was considering a recall for ruck-forward Paddy Ryder, who was dropped after round 13 as Port seek to avoid another late-season slump.

Last year, the Power crashed from fourth spot to missing the finals when losing seven of their last eight games and Hinkley was determined to avoid a repeat.

“It’s important we play finals,” he said.

“We set out to do that at the start of the year, that’s where our mark is.

“And it shouldn’t just be our pass mark, that’s our minimum. We are working bloody hard to play finals.”

The Power haven’t managed consecutive wins since rounds five and six and have lost their past two matches.

Port co-captain Ollie Wines (broken thumb) faces a fitness test later this week but the club will be without Ryan Burton and Brad Ebert for lengthy periods.

Ebert could miss the rest of the season because of a knee injury expected to sideline him for up to eight weeks while Burton has been listed as unavailable for up to six weeks because of a hamstring tear.

Port’s crosstown rivals are facing similar pressures to stay in the eight, but co-captain Taylor Walker doesn’t believe wholesale changes to the side is a productive strategy.

Walker says he’s not in peak form but doesn’t deserve to be dropped from the AFL side.

Walker’s position in the Crows team is under scrutiny from pundits as he battles to find peak form this season.

But Walker expects selectors to keep faith in him for Saturday’s trip to the MCG to play Carlton.

“There is a certain point where you back people in and (if) they are not performing then you have to make changes,” Walker told Triple M radio.

“For me personally, I’m not in the best form.

“But I’m still doing things that I think warrant a spot. So I would like to think they will back me in again this week.”

Walker has kicked 29 goals in 17 games this season and has been battling an elbow injury for the past month.

Crows assistant coach Ben Hart on Monday, when asked about Walker’s form dip, said no player was an automatic selection.

But Walker doubted selectors would make wholesale changes to the eighth-placed Crows, who have lost three of their past four games.

“I don’t think that is going to help,” he said.

– with AAP

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