Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley says he’s yet to decide whether to play fit-again forward Jay Schulz in Saturday’s crunch AFL clash with Fremantle at Domain Stadium.
Schulz has resumed full training after recovering from back surgery, but the 31-year-old hasn’t played a match since featuring for the Power in their round-one win over St Kilda.
The Power need to beat the Dockers in order to stay in touch with the top eight.
But with the club having a bye next week, Hinkley faces a tough call as to whether to rush Schulz back now, or ease him in over the coming weeks.
“We have to see whether we’re asking too much of him to come straight back in and play,” Hinkley told Perth radio station 6PR.
“He did some match simulation on Saturday and got through a whole session there doing it well.
“Jay’s a naturally fit sort of bloke, and he’s a gifted player when it comes to reading the game and handling the ball.
“So it’s pretty easy for him. It’s just whether you give him the opportunity to go out there in a slightly lower standard (SANFL) to get him ready.”
Fremantle have bounced back to form with big wins over Essendon and Brisbane in the past fortnight.
The emergence of Connor Blakely, Lachie Weller, Hayden Crozier, Darcy Tucker, Sam Collins, and Matt Taberner have been rare shining lights in an otherwise bleak season.
And although the Dockers are still missing the core of their best side, Hinkley isn’t going to underestimate them.
“You’ve only got to look at their numbers – they’re back hunting the ball and defending the ball as well as they have in the past,” Hinkley said.
“The last few weeks their numbers have been really positive. I’m sure Ross (Lyon) will have them up for this game as best he possibly can.”
Port’s three-point loss to the Bulldogs last week have left them a win and percentage adrift of the eighth-placed Eagles.