Port Adelaide have dropped youngsters Jake Neade and Karl Amon for Sunday’s high-stakes AFL clash with GWS.
Coach Ken Hinkley has confirmed the pair will be replaced by speedy wingman Jared Polec and tough midfielder Brad Ebert, who has recovered from a heavy fall two weeks ago which left him with bruised lungs.
Journeyman forward John Butcher will fill in for injured star Charlie Dixon, who hurt his ankle in Saturday’s win over North Melbourne.
Hinkley says Dixon’s ankle remains heavily swollen but he doesn’t expect the key forward to be sidelined for long.
“Probably over the next four or five days, I think we’ll get an indication as to how he’s going,” Hinkley said.
“The moon boot and stuff will disappear and we’ll see how he (bears weight) a bit. That will be significant.
“I don’t think it’s going to turn into a long-term injury. But if I say two weeks it’ll end up being four so I’m better off to stay on the fence and say `we’ll let you know as soon as we know’.”
Dixon has been a revelation in his first season with Port, booting 30 goals but impressing most with his pressure and workrate.
Hinkley said Dixon’s season should provide a blueprint for 25-year-old Butcher, whose senior opportunities this season have been limited by the Gold Coast recruit’s strong form.
“I think it’s easy for John – he’s only got to watch Charlie,” Hinkley said.
“We’re not talking about kicking lots of goals, we’re talking about creating a contest and helping our small forwards operate the best they possibly can.
“Occasionally you get a chance to take a mark yourself but it’s more about the work he does for the team than anything else.”
Ninth-placed Port are battling for finals contention but suffered one of their worst losses of the season last time they faced the fourth-placed Giants, sinking to an 86-point drubbing at Spotless Stadium in round four.
With gloomy weather forecast for Sunday’s twilight game, Hinkley said he would allow himself as much time as possible to consider late changes to suit the conditions.