Ken Hinkley says his message to Sam Powell-Pepper upon his return is to keep playing his way. Image: AFL Photos.

SAM POWELL-PEPPER returns to the Port Adelaide senior line-up from suspension with a simple and clear message from senior coach Ken Hinkley: Don't change.

Turned into the first test case of the AFL's stronger intent to deal with head-high bumps - amid the concern for concussions - Powell-Pepper was banned for the first four games of the premiership season for his bump on Adelaide defender Mark Keane at Alberton Oval during the pre-season.

Hinkley knows Powell-Pepper will come off the long break with high energy against Fremantle at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night. And he does not intend to stifle Powell-Pepper's natural aggression, particularly when his chaos plays could be the key to unravelling Fremantle's defensive chains.

"It is exciting to have 'Pep' back in the side," Hinkley said at Adelaide Oval before the captain's run on Friday morning. 

"There is no doubt he is ready to go. He is certainly ready to go.

"We just have to make sure he is calm and plays with some good composure. We have chatted about the way he plays the game. He plays really fair.

"He does need to make sure he comes back playing his style of game ... he has been suspended once in 130-odd games. He plays footy the right way. He learned from his mistake. I am sure he will play the right way."



BROWNLOW Medallist Ollie Wines (hamstring) returns after missing one-game to replace former captain Travis Boak (back) ... but as an inside midfielder will not go to the wing to fill the gap left by Boak.

Powell-Pepper takes the vacancy created in attack by Jeremy Finlayson being suspended for three matches ... and will he again pinch-hit in ruck to cover Finlayson's absence?

"(Selection) ended up being pretty straight forward," Hinkley said. "There are a lot of tactical questions ... and I am not going to make (Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir) have an easier day (by answering them today).

"Ollie will play inside-mid, his role ... it is pretty easy to fit a Brownlow Medallist in."

Boak is expected to have a short stay on the injury list.

"He is optimistic (of a quick recovery)," Hinkley said. "He was pushing to play this week, but we were clear that was not to be the case. Last year we saw the knocks (to the ribs) he dealt with a couple of times. You have protect your players from themselves at times. That is what we have done this week."

Stars Sam Powell-Pepper and Ollie Wines will return against Fremantle. Image: AFL Photos.


NO Jeremy Finlayson to work in ruck did not prompt the match committee to call up Western Bulldogs recruit Jordon Sweet for his Port Adelaide debut.

And Hinkley was not leaning towards that move - or a recall of young ruckman Dante Visentini - to support lead ruckman Ivan Soldo had Fremantle had Sean Darcy fit to work a tandem with in-form ruckman Luke Jackson.

"We would have been pretty happy with what we have been doing with our ruck (with Soldo working without a dedicated second ruckman)," Hinkley said. "Jeremy going out does unbalance that a little bit. 

"I am sure there will be an opportunity for Soldo and Sweet as there will be for Visentini. Dante is a genuine option for us ... the challenge for us is to make sure they all have some decent forward craft so when they do play, we know they can work forward as well."

Ivan Soldo will once again lead as Port Adelaide's number one ruck. Image: AFL Photos.


FREMANTLE will challenge Port Adelaide with a defensive anchor - and a super-charged midfield that has thrived through Luke Jackson and Caleb Serong.

"They are fundamentally really sound," Hinkley said of the West Australian rival. "They are very sound defensively. We have great respect for the Fremantle midfield; they are very talented.

"There is a challenge of will. Who gets the game on their terms as much as they possibly can?"

Port Adelaide will be looking to keep the game on their terms, preventing a strong Dockers outfit from controlling the contest. Image: AFL Photos.


RATHER than be distracted by the fall-out of Finlayson's suspension for a homophobic slur during the Gather Round clash with Essendon, Port Adelaide has taken the moment to reinforce its understanding of the obligations on all players and staff at Alberton.

"Jeremy is fine and moving on with what he has to; he understands exactly what has gone on this week and the mistakes (he made)," Hinkley said. "He has handled it in the best possible way. 

"It has been an opportunity for us all to understand and learn. There is still more to be learnt."


AMID external speculation - yet again - on his future, Hinkley declared he does not see his senior coaching work ending with the expiry of his current contract at the end of next season. This dismisses suggestions of a succession plan in place at Alberton.

"There is none," Hinkley said of any question on his future plans. "I am contracted for the next couple of years. I look forward to doing the best I can for the next couple of years and seeing what happens next.

"I don't have an end date. I am going to do my best to coach for as long as I possibly can. I still love what I do."