Port Adelaide’s decision to drop veteran forward Jay Schulz doesn’t mean his AFL days are numbered, coach Ken Hinkley says.
Schulz has been left out of Saturday’s clash against Brisbane at the Gabba after struggling to make an impact in recent weeks.
The 31-year-old, who is out of contract at the end of the year, has managed just five games this season after undergoing back surgery in April.
Hinkley says there shouldn’t be too much read into his omission.
“Jay’s come off a really limited preparation,” Hinkley said.
“We just think we’re asking him to do something at the moment that’s just a little bit outside of his reach. Physically, he’s not able to compete at the AFL level the way he’d like.
“A couple of weeks away from that may make the difference for him and may help him come back and play a couple of games for us this year.”
Hinkley said the absence of Schulz and injured spearhead Charlie Dixon would present a golden opportunity for fringe forward John Butcher to show his worth.
He described 25-year-old Butcher’s survival last year as the perfect example of why list management decisions could not be rushed.
“John’s ability to play the last four games the way he did probably extended his career with us and he’s got another opportunity again this week,” Hinkley said.
“There’s five games to go.
“You could have someone come out and play the best five games they’ve ever played and the decision could change.
“There’s always something that can surprise you.”
With Port three wins shy of eight-placed North Melbourne and almost certain to miss the finals, Hinkley said he would look to the side’s fringe players to show their worth.
The Power have recalled young midfielder Karl Amon and defender Nathan Krakouer to replace Schulz and Kane Mitchell (omitted).