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Every game throws up different challenges

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Darcy Byrne-Jones of the Power is tackled by Ed Langdon and Aaron Sandilands of the Dockers during the 2018 AFL round 01 match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Fremantle Dockers at Adelaide Oval on March 24, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by AFL Media)
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Darcy Byrne-Jones of the Power is tackled by Ed Langdon and Aaron Sandilands of the Dockers during the 2018 AFL round 01 match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Fremantle Dockers at Adelaide Oval on March 24, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by AFL Media)

PORT ADELAIDE could welcome back some experience for Sunday’s trip to Perth to take on Fremantle, while coach Ken Hinkley has also suggested a debutant could come into selection consideration.

The Power will be forced into one change to the side which beat St Kilda last Saturday with leading backman Tom Jonas out with a knee injury but also has small forward Sam Gray and running defender Jasper Pittard pushing for a recall.

Gray missed the win over the Saints with an ankle problem while a hamstring complaint sidelined Pittard.

“Both were running out there today, both moving well,” Hinkley said on Wednesday after training.

“It’s our first day back (at training) today so we’ll see how they are on Friday, but at this stage, I’d be very hopeful that Sam Gray certainly would be available.”

Hinkley will also consider recalling defender Jack Hombsch who has done little wrong when he has had his opportunities at AFL level this season.

But the Power coach said the untried Jarrod Lienert would also come into calculations after performing strongly at SANFL level.

“Jarrod’s a bit different,” Hinkley said.

“He’s got a bit of speed, he’s 6”5 and got a powerful kick so he’s a slightly different player than a Jonas or a Hombsch would be.

“He’s mature age, he’s 23, he’s mature enough to play football so I think from our point of view that’s something we need to look at and find out if he can actually do it at a level above.”

The Power will travel to Perth for its second game at the new Optus Stadium.

It will go into the game against the 13th-placed Dockers as firm favourite after five wins in a row, but Hinkley said he’d seen enough of his side’s opponent to know it wouldn’t be easy to continue the winning run.

“Clearly their form at home is a bit stronger but they only came over to Melbourne a couple of weeks ago and had this amazing first half against Carlton and were really strong.

“Their own form has been a little inconsistent but they’re a young side who are developing.

“You hear (Fremantle coach) Ross (Lyon) talk about that all the time, they’re on the journey so they’ll have some games where they’ll be really positive – I just hope it isn’t this week.”

Sitting inside the top-four Hinkley could probably afford to start thinking about where his team will finish, but he hasn’t allowed himself to look too far ahead.

“First and foremost, we need to get four points, we’re still trying to qualify for finals and every side in the competition is – we’re no different.

“We’re trying to put in a good, strong performance that will hopefully get us the four points but we know the challenge.

“The competition – it’s just so tight, you can’t afford to make mistakes - we see it every week where the so-called underdog gets up.

“We as coaches don’t see underdogs and favourites - we see opposition and challenges, that’s exactly what it is.”

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