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Players on notice, says Power coach

Lee Gaskin AFL MEDIA  July 14, 2017 12:02 PM

AFL 2017 Round 15 - Port Adelaide v Richmond

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 01: Ken Hinkley, Senior Coach of the Power looks dejected after a loss during the 2017 AFL round 15 match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Richmond Tigers at Adelaide Oval on July 01, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

 

PORT Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley has put every player on notice their spot is in jeopardy if they are off their best.

Key defender Jack Hombsch is the latest to pay the price for below-par performances, losing his place in the side for Saturday's clash with North Melbourne at Adelaide Oval.

With a full list to choose from apart from Matthew Broadbent (ankle), Hinkley said competition for spots was at a premium.

"Every player in our side has to have that attitude and that is, if you don't play well, you put yourself at risk and we've shown this year we're not going to mess around with that," Hinkley said.

"You need to own your spot, you need to have an edge about the way you play and if you don't, you run a risk and the consequences will be what they be.

"We've got one player unavailable and we're at round 17. It's an incredible position to be in."

The Power dropped defender Jasper Pittard – named in the 40-man All-Australian squad last year – earlier in the season, before he forced his way back into the side.

Hombsch is a pillar of the Power's backline, but has struggled in recent weeks, and makes way for Logan Austin.

"Jack's been a pretty consistent performer for us for a long period of time, he's just a little bit out of form and he's the first to admit that," Hinkley said.

"You have great respect and you give people some time.

"Jack is a real trademark player for our football club, so we didn't make the decision lightly to put Jack out of the side."

Austin, 22, was impressive in 11 games last season, but required ankle surgery after the round 23 win over Gold Coast.

"He's a really accountable defender and he's a big defender as well, he's 198cm," Hinkley said.

"That little bit of extra size helps us and he beats his opponent."

Hinkley said Broadbent's ankle injury hadn't recovered as fast as expected, but he would likely be available for next week's game with Melbourne.

The Power are back in the top four after their impressive win against West Coast in Perth last weekend.

But despite the vast difference in the ladder positions, Hinkley isn't taking the 17th-placed Kangaroos – who have lost their past five games – lightly.

"The ladder is probably a little unfair to them and their percentage is really healthy, so it suggests they have been in lots of games," Hinkley said.

"They've got a really effective midfield, some great players in their back half, (Robbie) Tarrant's been in great form and up forward they've got some challenges for us with Brown.

"They're transitioning as a football club, but they've come on quickly."

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