PORT ADELAIDE will have four AFL debutants among a completely revamped line-up for its season opening clash against Melbourne on Saturday afternoon.
Power coach Ken Hinkley announced at a press conference on Tuesday that first round draftees Xavier Duursma, Connor Rozee and Zak Butters would feature against the Demons at the MCG along with third-year midfielder Willem Drew.
With new recruits Ryan Burton and Scott Lycett also in line for club debuts, Hinkley said there would be eleven players on the ground who didn’t feature in the club’s final game of 2018.
"It makes it hard for Melbourne to predict what we're going to do, because we don't know what we're going to do," Hinkley said.
“It’s incredibly exciting, there’s no doubt about that.”
The Power players were told in a team meeting on Tuesday morning about the debutants.
Hinkley said Brisbane recruit Sam Mayes narrowly missed selection, which would have given the club seven Port Adelaide debutants.
The Power coach said he had no concerns with playing so many new and young players.
“They’re young people and they’re usually pretty bullet proof, they have a lot of confidence in themselves, they’ve had a pre-season where they’ve played and trained and done everything amongst AFL players, we’ve seen their form in the JLT against the next best thing – that’s opposition – and they’ve done really well so we’re really comfortable that they’re ready to go,” he said.
“They’re not picked because they’re young, they’re not picked because they’re high draft picks, they’re picked because they can play good football already and we think they can certainly have an impact straight away.
“And what a great place to play your first game – at the MCG.”
Hinkley said the number of new faces would make for an interesting, and lengthy guernsey presentation before the game against the Demons.
“I think we’re going to start about eight thirty Saturday morning and work our way through it,” he joked.
“As a club we’ve been pretty prepared to play our young players as soon as they’re ready and we back them in, and that also gives them great confidence that they can go on and have great careers.”
The Power has all but settled on its line-up for Saturday’s season opener with Hinkley confirming Paddy Ryder was “100 per-cent playing” despite having surgery less than two weeks ago to correct a depressed cheekbone suffered in an accidental collision in JLT2 against North Melbourne.
Ryder trained strongly at Alberton on Tuesday morning but wore a full-face helmet as protection.
“Obviously, he’s got to get through the rest of the week… but we expect he’ll play,” Hinkley said of the 2017 All-Australian ruckman.
“He’s got a helmet on his head which is a bit unusual and he said “I’ve got some peripheral vision which is causing some (issues)” but it’s the first time he’s put it on, it’s a precaution, it’s just for Paddy to feel safe in and right now he’s playing.
“He will (wear it in the game) unless we get to Saturday and he doesn’t want to, because as I said it’s more about Paddy feeling like it gives him a bit of protection.”