Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley will look to the future after his side’s AFL finals dreams were all but dashed by Greater Western Sydney.
The Power’s 19-point loss to GWS on Sunday leaves them three games shy of eight-placed North Melbourne with clashes against Sydney and Adelaide to come.
Hinkley insists he hasn’t ruled out an unlikely finals berth but says he’ll challenge his side’s fringe players to prove they deserve senior opportunities.
“We’ll go in every week and give (ourselves) the best chance to perform well and hopefully keep looking at opportunities to see our list develop and see what players are capable of improving,” he said.
“I’m not giving games away. We want to make sure that you earn a game and we’ve done that with players this year.
“Anyone that’s ready to have a go and put their hand up and shows that consistently. week-in, week-out. I think that’s the key.”
Among those considered will be small forward Jake Neade, young midfielder Karl Amon and defender Nathan Krakouer, who was suspended by Port Adelaide for five games over a nightclub incident at the start of the season.
Ruckman Matthew Lobbe and wingman Matthew White will also be assessed after recovering from long-term injuries.
Lamenting his side’s inability to match it with the best teams in the competition over four quarters, Hinkley admitted there were no easy answers.
“You just keep working. You keep going at it,” he said.
“You keep trying to develop your list to get them better. That’s what every club is doing. That’s what we’re doing every week.”