Giants giant Dawson Simpson rucks against Port’s Justin Westhoff. Picture: Mark Brake/Getty Images
Giants giant Dawson Simpson rucks against Port’s Justin Westhoff. Picture: Mark Brake/Getty Images

Hinkley laments poor skills, ruck shortcomings

PORT Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley is wavering on his once-steadfast reluctance to call up an untried ruckman as the Power fails without All-Australian Patrick Ryder.

Hinkley on Sunday night - after a costly home loss to Greater Western Sydney - conceded to look at either Billy Frampton or Peter Ladhams as Ryder recuperates from a left hip-flexor strain.

Without Ryder, Hinkley has learned he loses firepower in attack when key forward Charlie Dixon is the replacement lead ruckman. And without Dixon in ruck, there is no guarantee - with makeshift ruckmen including midfielder Ollie Wines - that the Power can deliver enough supply to Dixon.

Charlie Dixon rucks against Giant Adam Tomlinson. Picture Sarah Reed
Charlie Dixon rucks against Giant Adam Tomlinson. Picture Sarah Reed

"We keep saying we would like to see another ruckman come in … and maybe we look at it (now)," Hinkley said on Sunday night. "Maybe it is worth going for it.

"We have to look (at Frampton or Ladhams). There is no guarantee; I'm not going to predict here tonight we are going to change our rucks off the back of one game."

Ryder is still expected to miss another match or two.

Fifth-ranked Port Adelaide again denied itself the much-valued fourth spot in September's top-eight finals with the 22-point loss to the in-form Giants. And the Power again has to regret the skill errors that gave GWS a 35-point lead at time-on in the third term - after which Port Adelaide charged to within nine points with Dixon as a damaging focal point in attack.

"There is no fairy dust; you can't sprinkle something on it," Hinkley said of the skill woes that also tripped up the Power against Fremantle in Perth last week.

"Like every club, we work incredibly hard to fix up our deficiencies. We still have some areas that hurt us - and one is our skill.

"We do an enormous amount of work on it; every session we work on ball use. It is the pressure of the game; when it comes up, you have to be able to execute. We try to get that as close as we can at training. The players do their absolute best to improve - we spend a lot of time in training the fundamentals of skill.

"We continue to work on it … and we continue to get challenged by it. That is obvious."

Ollie Wines under pressure from Dawson Simpson. Picture: Sarah Reed
Ollie Wines under pressure from Dawson Simpson. Picture: Sarah Reed

Hinkley could not question his team's spirit to fight to within nine points of the Giants in the 15th minute of the last term when Power midfielder Chad Wingard took a free kick after GWS defender Heath Shaw was penalised for a deliberate rushed behind.

Wingard's kick was touched by GWS captain Phil Davis with Hinkley measuring the key defender three metres - rather than 10 - from the mark.

"If the man on the mark is not three metres away when Chad is having a snap, maybe we get a goal (and the margin down to four points)," Hinkley said.

"(Shaw) was under no pressure and rushed a point," added Hinkley of the free called on the GWS defender. "You have to ask the umpiring department (if Davis was in a legal position), but the rules say you have to be 10 metres. It was a big moment for us."

Port Adelaide reported no injury. Midfielder-forward Steven Motlop withdrew from the match before the start with illness.

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Chad Wingard crashes back into Matt Buntine. Picture Sarah Reed
Chad Wingard crashes back into Matt Buntine. Picture Sarah Reed


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