Port players nervous ahead of AFL review

Port Adelaide forward Aaron Young admits there are nerves at Alberton as the club prepare to review their AFL list after another disappointing year.

Coach Ken Hinkley has promised the Power will make bold list management decisions after a dismal loss to Melbourne at Adelaide Oval had dashed their chances of making the finals for a second straight year.

Young, 23, has booted 33 goals this year and signed a one-year contract extension in June but says some teammates might be feeling the pinch ahead of Saturday’s derby clash with Adelaide.

“You’re great mates with everyone at the club so those times are pretty testing,” Young said on Wednesday.

“Obviously, it’s sad for some guys that will have to move on but you’ve got to put the onus on us.

“If we’re playing our best footy, then there’s minimal changes but we haven’t performed the way we’d like to.

“It’s a bit upsetting but there will be some changes towards the end of the year.”

Port will go into the Showdown without star forward Chad Wingard, who will play no further part in the season after injuring his hamstring against Melbourne.

Wingard has since undergone surgery on a pre-existing finger injury but is expected to recover in time for next year’s pre-season.

Hamish Hartlett (calf) and Billy Frampton (groin) have also been ruled out for the rest of the year and spearhead Charlie Dixon could join them on the sidelines after appearing to aggravate an ankle injury in the 40-point loss to the Demons.

A decision on Dixon will be made after the Power train on Wednesday evening but Young says he expects the Showdown to be close either way, despite the third-placed Crows enjoying a far better year.

“I think the pressure of the occasion for both sides will be the same,” Young said.

“Obviously, it’s a two-team town and both teams really want to win the game.”

Hinkley described his players as mentally bruised following their loss to the Demons, conceding they had lost the attacking flair that had driven their past successes.

“We’re second-guessing ourselves because of the mistakes and it takes away your enthusiasm to challenge the game,” he said.

“It shouldn’t but it does.

“You’re uncertain and, whenever you play football with some uncertainty, you end up looking like an average football team.”

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