IT'S a sell-out and there will be a new prime attraction in Port Adelaide colours - 2020 academy graduate Lachie Jones.
Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley is primed to make one change to the field 22 for the AFL preliminary final rematch against league champions Richmond with all 38,000 tickets taken up for the Oval's first full house of Season 2021.
Lachie Jones, 19 on Friday and call No.16 at last year's AFL national draft, will replace ruckman-forward Pete Ladhams in the 22 who fell by 37 points to West Coast at Perth Stadium on Easter Saturday.
This leaves forwards Todd Marshall and All-Australian Charlie Dixon to take up Ladham's work in ruck as support for lead ruckman Scott Lycett.
Marshall was excused from the captain's run training session at Adelaide Oval on Friday morning to rest after rolling on an ankle at training at Alberton on Thursday. He is expected to play against Richmond with Hinkley working a new-look forward tandem with Dixon, Marshall and second-year forward Mitch Georgiades.
"We think three tall (forwards) certainly works," Hinkley said. "We would like to look like that more often than not. We think they can operate together."
The 23rd man medical substitute - Miles Bergman against West Coast - again will be decided an hour before the first bounce at 7.20pm. Ladhams is on standby to replace Marshall if the rolled ankle is not sound.
Jones' much-awaited entry to the AFL line-up gives Hinkley more flexibility with his line-up, particularly in deepening the rotations in the midfield that was blitzed under West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui's tap work at the weekend.
"Definitely one or two (other players can shuffle from half-back)," Hinkley said at Adelaide Oval on Friday. "(Dan) Houston could play midfield; (Hamish) Hartlett could play in there as well ... (Ryan) Burton. We are pretty lucky with flexibility from our half-backs. They can all play a slightly different role.
"We spent a lot of time over the summer making sure players could deal with different roles."
Jones makes his AFL debut after proving his fitness after being sidelined by a hamstring strain at the end of the pre-season. His strong physique and uncompromising game makes him appear ready for AFL action - and certain of quickly being embraced as a new cult hero by the Port Adelaide faithful.
More so if the half-back is called to deal with Richmond hero Dustin Martin, a challenge that Hinkley knows will put Jones on the front foot against the Brownlow Medallist.
"There would be a collision," said Hinkley of a tantalising moment that could unfold on Adelaide Oval when Martin shifts from midfield to attack. "There would be a collision ... and Lachie would be okay.
"He is ready to play; he played a lot of senior football (in the SANFL with league premier Woodville-West Torrens) last year. As a club we have been waiting for this moment ... he had a little hamstring that put him back a little bit, but he is aggressive and ready to play.
"He is one of those mature young people who is right to go to play men's footy. He is a big boy. He is aggressive with it. He is explosive. He has a lot things that suggest he will be a successful AFL footballer. Now he gets his first test ... against the reigning premiers."
Port Adelaide is challenged to respond from a disappointing performance against West Coast - and deal with the benchmark Richmond poses after winning the 2017, 2019 and 2020 AFL premierships.
"(The players) were really disappointed and they are a proud group," Hinkley said. "They have been a really strong group for a long period of time now. They did not like the loss and that is why they will recover and bounce back.
"We are challenged by that result (against West Coast). Lose and learn ... it is something we have to deal with.
"They (the players) expect better of each other and themselves. They want to be great team-mates for each other. Teams with that quality can respond ... we have two teams tomorrow who are both trying to respond (to defeats with Richmond dealing with the loss from unbeaten Sydney).
"Who wins the 'response ticket' everyone wants to put on the table?"