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Ryder eyeing return for Cats

Harry Thring  June 5, 2015 3:12 PM

AFL 2015 Rd 06 - Port Adelaide v West Coast

Patrick Ryder of the Power dives on the ball in front of Matt Priddis of the Eagles during the 2015 AFL Round 06 match between Port Adelaide Power and the West Coast Eagles at Adelaide Oval, Adelaide on May 10, 2015. (Photo: James Elsby/AFL Media)

PORT Adelaide believes star ruckman Patrick Ryder could be fit enough to return to the senior side to take on Geelong in round 11. 

Ryder will sit out a second straight game this weekend – against the Western Bulldogs on Saturday night – with an Achilles injury.

The former Bomber has struggled to slot into the Power's setup and has kicked goals in just three of his eight games this year.

He was absent as Port ended a three-game losing streak with a 61-point win over Melbourne last weekend.

His teammates have rejected suggestions the side was more balanced without Ryder and coach Ken Hinkley said Ryder was set to rejoin the side soon.

"Initially we thought Paddy was two, maybe three weeks, but we're hopeful it's only two," Hinkley said.

"The doctors are pretty confident that he'll be right for the next game."

Hinkley was understandably wary of the vastly improved Bulldogs.

After finishing 14th last season, the Bulldogs have rocketed to ninth after snapping their own three-game losing streak last week against Greater Western Sydney.

Hinkley rated them – along with the Giants and West Coast – as one of the sides to watch in future years. 

"There are a couple of emerging teams and certainly the Bulldogs are one of them," he said.

"You've seen all year, their best is very, very good.

"They're an incredibly well-drilled side, they've got some speed about their team and 'Bobby' Murphy leads them incredibly well.

"They're an exciting team and we need to be at our best."

Although the Power showed further signs of approaching their best last weekend against Melbourne, Hinkley maintained they still weren't at the level he'd like at this time of the year.

While its second half against the Demons was sensational, Port dipped to a 24-point deficit in the second term. 

"I said before last week's game I felt like we were building a little bit in the right direction," he said.

"From the Richmond game we got some stuff right, albeit the scoreboard wasn't where we wanted it to be but I think last week the same, we still didn't play four strong quarters of football.

"We're still a little way off where we need to be but we're working really hard to gain that momentum."