Hinkley: Young talent is eligible for a duel in Sydney

Port Adelaide has its 205th AFL debutant – and the fastest to move from draft to national competition action.

Fifteen days after 22-year-old East Fremantle ruckman forward Brynn Teakle was called up to Alberton in the AFL mid-season rookie draft, the 203cm West Australian will lead the Port Adelaide ruck against Sydney – and former Port Adelaide player Peter Ladhams – at Adelaide Oval on Saturday afternoon.

Senior coach Ken Hinkley told the team during practice at Alberton Oval on Thursday morning about Teakle’s rise to AFL ranks – to mark the fourth ruck theme used by Port Adelaide this season (after Scott Lycett; Sam Hayes and the tandem of Jeremy Finlayson-Charlie Dixon).

“It’s one of the great stories of the AFL mid-season draft,” Hinkley said. And a good reason to keep going.

“This is a great story about the mid-season draw. There’s no doubt that it’s beneficial. It works for the AFL league. I hope it doesn’t hurt the lower leagues too much, but for the guys with their dreams (the draft ) gives them an excellent opportunity.

“We’ve seen some conscripts move on halfway through the season and still have a great career.

“In my time in football,” added Hinkley, who made his AFL debut with Fitzroy in 1987, “I’ve never seen anyone play their first game within 14 days (of arriving at a club). It’s an amazing result.It is a remarkable achievement.Brynn has now been with our club for 14 days and he is now going to play his first AFL game.

“He has a lot of energy. We learned in just two weeks how much energy Brynn brings – and he played with a lot of energy at the SANFL level. He will be exciting for us.”

“First impressions are usually correct. Brynn is a really infectious person. He’s a really easygoing guy. The spirit he’s put in the place is timely.”

Teakle begins his AFL story with the No. 27 black, white, and blue jersey. He will ruck with the support of Finlayson, Dixon and Todd Marshall.

“We will have great flexibility,” Hinkley said as Lycett stepped up his training with his return expected next month after a long hiatus from shoulder surgery.

Teakle forced Port Adelaide’s hand with his three-goal SANFL debut against Central District at Elizabeth Oval on Saturday – and Hinkley’s match committee had further twisted his arm due to major health, injury and form issues.

“He’s also had solid form in the WAFL,” Hinkley said. “His roster allows us to play and score our forwards (Finlayson and Dixon) as dangerous players as possible. We are trying to increase our scoring ability with the players currently available to us.”

“We think this is our best option – and Brynn showed last week that he is a threat as a striker, scoring three goals. We think this gives us great flexibility to score.”

Brynn Teakle becomes Port Adelaide’s 205th AFL debutant just two weeks after arriving at the club. Image: Brandon Hancock.

Former captain Travis Boak will miss an AFL game for the second time this season due to COVID protocols.

Match winner Robbie Gray will rest after sustaining major problems with a knee that was struck in the season opener against Brisbane at the Gabba.

North Melbourne recruit Trent Dumont has been sidelined due to the calf injury he sustained against Richmond in the MCG last week.

Half-striker/midfielder Steven Motlop has fallen into poor form recently.

This creates openings for forward Mitch Georgiades, father-son recruit Jackson Mead and versatile defender Martin Frederick who will be named to the 23-man squad on Thursday night.

“There are about 900 experience games on our side, but we’re going to bring in some young people and some exciting people with Georgiades, Mead, Frederick and Brynn Teakle,” Hinkley said.

There is no doubt about the suitability of captain Tom Jonas and midfielder Zak Butters, who collided during the final run of the 12-point loss to Richmond at the MCG. Butters will play with a broken cheek but no protective guard — and starvation after being kept out of contact during training.

“Zak growled at me because he still has a few stitches in his face and he thought it was ridiculous that he has to train with the pink hat to mark no contact,” Hinkley said. “He thinks it’s ridiculous, but we trust the doctor.”

Attacking midfielder/striker Jackson Mead returns to the sidelines for the first time since Round 5. Image: AFL Photos.

Gray, 34, has endured repeated injuries – most notably with punches to his right knee – to play nine AFL games in his 16th consecutive season at Port Adelaide. His numbers this season are attracting a lot of attention for his goals – 10.5 with four games (including the last two against Essendon and Sydney) without a score. He contributed to seven goals by assisting a teammate.

“We give Rob the best chance to perform at his best when he plays in the coming weeks, whenever that may be,” said Hinkley. “Even after the bye, Robbie was not at his best. He needs to get some continuity in his game and some training form as well.

“He has tried (forced) to play in the first 10-12 weeks without training and that is untenable no matter how good you are. We know how great Rob has been.

“We’re not going to put Rob on a timetable. We’ll make sure he gets through the next few weeks with good training. Robbie will come out very soon. He’ll show us on the training track that he’s capable of being Robbie Gray. ” Once he’s able to do that, this coach won’t hold him back for much longer.

“He’s had that knee problem all year. It’s the injury from the first round when – after an excellent preparation – someone fell in front of his leg. He has not got over it since. Everything has been examined and investigated. didn’t need surgery but it settled down – and it’s a very simple problem it just won’t fix itself leaving Rob playing with some discomfort and it just gets to a point where non-training and discomfort make it too difficult to perform at its best.”

Striker Robbie Gray will miss Port Adelaide’s game against the Swans to manage knee pain. Image: AFL Photos.

Mead, 20, returns to AFL action for the first time since round 5 clash with Carlton at the MCG. His role on match day – in his sixth career game – will be to close the gaps in attack left by Gray and Motlop’s departures and increase Port Adelaide’s midfield rotations led by Brownlow- medalist Ollie Wines, Butters and Connor Rozee.

“I hope Mead gets a lot of time around the ball; we think he is a young developing midfielder that we are very happy with,” Hinkley said. “He’s coming up this year and he’s got a great opportunity this week against another fairly young midfield in Sydney. He’s going to have the chance to take on some good players.”

Wingman Xavier Duursma is on Port Adelaide’s emergency list this weekend.

“He’s working really hard to get his game right and we think we’ve seen some improvement (in the SANFL),” Hinkley said. “Xavier and Miles Bergman have had interruptions (with their training) – Miles has been incredibly disrupted at the beginning of the year which made it a real challenge to appear as a younger player.

“Over the past two weeks, Xavier and Jackson Mead have been getting better and Miles is still trying to get past a terrible run when it comes to training to start. He’s had two weeks of really good training now, so we expect him to do that.” will do.” come soon.”

The challenge remains for Port Adelaide to lift the average of 74 points.

“There have been a few reasons (for the drop in Port Adelaide’s annual scoring average which was 84 points last season),” said Hinkley. “Staff, the way we’ve played, the places we’ve played… it’s not easy, but we think the staff we have this week gives us a great opportunity to improve our score.

“Defensively we have been good,” Hinkley added. “But we have to put some pressure on the scoreboard, especially against a team like Sydney, who are a great attacking team and have been very strong defensively. You have to have a good balance in both directions.”

“You can’t take your eyes off the defense when you’re dealing with a Sydney side who have talent in the front half and in midfield they are sure to score.”

Ken Hinkley says the squad needs to take the pressure off the scoreboard, especially against a high scoring Sydney outfit. Image: AFL Photos.

Port Adelaide is now on three wins out of the top eight, but has one more game on their hands over eighth-ranked Collingwood (8-5 out of 13 games).

The schedule for the next eight weeks is to test Port Adelaide’s ambitions to make it to AFL finals for the third consecutive season – five games against the current top eight: Sydney this weekend (home), Perth giant killers Fremantle in round 16, AFL Premier Melbourne at Alice Springs on round 18, Geelong (home) on round 19 and Collingwood at the MCG on round 20. There are also clashes with potential finalists Gold Coast (home) on round 15 and Richmond (home) in round 21.

“We have to perform consistently from week to week,” Hinkley said. “We have to keep our focus on that. Last week we were right there against a good opponent (Richmond).

“Every game coming up is super important to us. We understand that. There will come a time when things are out of our reach – and we’ll talk about that, not now. There’s too much for us to do this week to take our eyes off the ball.

“We invested to win this week – and we have to stay in that space. It’s so important to us.”

Port Adelaide will face Sydney for the 33rd time in AFL business – and their first since Round 15 last season when it scored a 10-point win at Adelaide Oval.

Port Adelaide have a five-game winning streak against Sydney, the club’s best record against a rival that has held a 20-12 lead on the head-to-head ledger since 1997.

“We’re up against a really good team,” Hinkley said. “But we also have a great track record against them – and we hope we can keep that record against them.

“We understand the challenge they will put in front of us – a challenge we can more than overcome. We have a great understanding of how they like to play. It is now whether we can maximize our ability to play the game at our level .”

The Adelaide Oval race kicks off at 1.15pm and is dedicated to Port Adelaide’s Power Intercultural Program.

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