Coach Ken Hinkley makes no apologies for handing boom recruit Paddy Ryder his biggest challenge in Port Adelaide colours.
He says Ryder will have to go it alone against North Melbourne’s influential Todd Goldstein in Saturday’s AFL encounter in Melbourne.
The ruck duel will likely determine the winner, according to Hinkley and his Kangaroos counterpart Brad Scott.
Hinkley, with first-choice tap-man Matthew Lobbe still unsighted because of a thigh injury, has dumped support ruck Jarrad Redden and left Ryder flying solo for the task of quelling Goldstein.
“It’s a big battle,” Hinkley told reporters in Adelaide on Friday.
“Goldstein usually plays 90 per cent of football (game-time) and Paddy plays a lot of football too, so they’re basically going to go head-to-head for the most part of the game,” Hinkley told reporters in Adelaide on Friday.
“Both sides have got back-up support but are predominantly backing in their number one ruck.
Kangaroos boss Scott said he held immense faith in Goldstein to beat any opponent but was wary of Ryder.
“Goldy’s in good form. We expect him to compete well against any ruck in the competition,” Scott told reporters in Melbourne on Friday.
“But Patrick Ryder is a very good player and his best position probably is the ruck.
“It’s going to be a great challenge and they’ve had some great battles.
“It will, I suspect, go a fair way to determining the winner.”
While Port have suffered consecutive losses to open their campaign, Scott, with a win and a loss this season, scoffed at suggestions the Power had been worked out by other sides.
“I don’t buy into that,” Scott said.
“Port Adelaide have had the challenge, like a couple of other sides, of playing the best teams early. In finals, you play the best teams as well.
“So that’s just the run they’ve had. They’ll still play a big part in 2015, I’m sure. But we have to make sure it doesn’t start this week.”
Port have handed midfielder Brendon Ah Chee an AFL debut in his fourth year on the list, and summoned Nathan Krakouer for his first game for the club since 2010, when he walked out and joined Gold Coast, where he lasted a season before quitting.