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Port wary of Bulldogs ahead of crucial clash

Football

Port Adelaide expect the Western Bulldogs’ star-studded midfield to come out firing when they face off in their crucial AFL top-four clash at Marvel Stadium tonight.

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The stakes are high with the Power eyeing off a top-two finish and the Bulldogs working to stay in the top four.

The Bulldogs have lost two games on the bounce, with plenty of scrutiny on their midfield efforts against Essendon and Hawthorn.

But Hinkley, whose Power were bested by the Bulldogs’ midfield in their loss back in round nine albeit without Zak Butters and Xavier Duursma, is wary of what they can deliver.

“Everyone is talking about the quality of their midfield and the microscope has been put on them for not getting it done at the level they were,” Hinkley told reporters on Thursday.

“But we know how good and talented they are.

“We still have to be able to match it around the midfield, we have to be able to push them and test them when we get the ball in our half, and we have to clearly stand up when it is coming the other way.”

Bulldogs counterpart Luke Beveridge said he expected his midfield to settle over the coming weeks, with Josh Dunkley and Adam Treloar both only recently returning from their respective long injury lay-offs.

“When you consider the boys who have played through that midfield throughout the course of the year, they’ve done such an enormous job of getting us into this position of helping getting us into this position,” Beveridge said.

“So no, I didn’t give them a rocket. There’s always honest conversations around what we need to improve on and they have them with each other as well.

“Probably with ‘Dunks’ and Adam coming back into the fold in recent times, the chemistry there will continue to grow and hopefully the planets align a little bit better on Friday night and it’s a sharing of the load.

“The boys who are playing through those roles understand how critical they are to the prospect of us winning the game and I anticipate that they’ll put their best foot forward on Friday.”

-with AAP

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