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Lade: Not up to the standard we expect

PORT ADELAIDE assistant coach Brendon Lade has admitted his side is being hurt by its slow starts, but he refused to blame the AFL’s new restrictions on pre-match warm-ups.

The Power has trailed at half time in each of its last three matches, and while it rallied to beat Sydney and held on after taking a slender lead against Brisbane, a 27-point half time deficit to Essendon proved too much on Sunday.

“We weren’t strong enough or clean enough in the contest and then our spread both ways, offensively and defensively, was just not up to the standard that we expect,” Lade said.

“They were definitely cleaner than us and got a lot of easy ball which put our backs under pressure and then when we went forward it wasn’t as easy as we would have liked.”

The Power has kicked just 15 goals in the first half in the past three weeks and while it came home strongly to beat the Swans and Lions, it couldn’t do it again against the Bombers.

This season players are only allowed to enter the arena to warm-up as individuals if there is no curtain-raiser and otherwise must warm-up in the rooms before entering the field just over ten minutes before the first bounce.

Players must vacate the field half an hour before the bounce under the new rules to allow for other match-day entertainment.

“We’re adjusting, as every team is, to the new warm-up,” Lade said.

“It’s not an excuse at all, we just need to start better and we haven’t.

“For us to be able to come out of the blocks better, getting a better start and staying in the game from the start is what we’re after.”

Lade said the club might try to have a more intense warm-up in the rooms among other ideas it will trial to make sure it starts games better.

“We might do some more intense stuff on the ground as well, we’re throwing up everything at the moment because they’re not good enough at the moment,” he said.

“We might do some handball games, some more contested stuff to get them up and going a little earlier.”

Lade said midfielder Sam Powell-Pepper could be considered for Saturday night’s game against Geelong after completing his club-imposed suspension, pending the outcome of an AFL investigation into an incident he was allegedly involved in.

And while Port Adelaide succumbed to its first loss of the season, Lade wasn’t predicting many changes at the selection table.

“We’ve won three games in a row and lost one, you don’t normally make wholesale changes,” he said.

“If we go through the whole year and every four week period be three and one, we’ll be a pretty handy side so I wouldn’t foresee wholesale changes.”

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