Port on edge ahead of Suns game: Hinkley

Steve LarkinAAP
Port Adelaide take on Gold Coast in an AFL clash that could easily define their 2022 season.
Camera IconPort Adelaide take on Gold Coast in an AFL clash that could easily define their 2022 season. Credit: AAP

Port Adelaide is on edge ahead of Sunday's season-shaping AFL clash against Gold Coast.

But Power coach Ken Hinkley says that's nothing new.

"We are always on edge," Hinkley said.

"But because of the results, everyone is riding every result as a critical result.

"It's no different to us. But we also understand that we keep our focus on the week - and know how important this week is - we can't afford to go away from that.

"If that brings a slightly better or different edge, I am not quite sure.

"These blokes prepare every game to play at an AFL level and that means you have to be on edge."

The Adelaide Oval encounter looms as defining for both club's finals prospects.

The Suns, eyeing a maiden finals berth, are in 11th spot, one win shy of the top eight.

And Hinkley's Port are in 12th spot, two wins outside the top eight.

"They (Gold Coast) are a big final-eight contender, clearly," Hinkley said.

"And they are five (wins) and one (loss) in their last six.

"You have probably got, on form of the last six weeks, the two best defensive teams having a crack at it."

Hinkley will enter the fixture without a specialist ruckman, asking utility Jeremy Finlayson to try to combat the Suns' co-captain Jarrod Witts.

On paper, it's a lopsided duel with Finlayson some 12 centimetres shorter and around 12kg lighter than Witts.

"It has been pretty simple for us, that we have been getting the results that we need to get and want to get with the current structure that we have been using," Hinkley said.

"The support around ground level has been important to us.

"He (Finlayson) has also been getting his share of hitouts and with Charlie (Dixon) available to us as well, we have got some great flexibility in what we can do."

Hinkley said what happened when the ball hit the ground after the ruck contests was more decisive than who won the hitout.

"We have had some experience around what that looks like and how it works," he said.

"It's just a fierce battle at ground level.

"You have got be ready to move into every contest the right way, you can't go there pre-planning anything, who is going to win the hitouts.

"You just know the game becomes live once it hits the floor."

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