Worried Port Adelaide turns clock back to when it last played without Paddy
PORT Adelaide will study the tapes from 2016 to learn how to play without a recognised ruckman as the Power seeks a quick response from the Essendon loss when facing Geelong at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.
And multiple club champion Robbie Gray is confident midfielder Sam Powell-Pepper will bring a boost to the midfield after serving a one-week suspension.
The Power has been hit with the uncomfortable news that there is no clear timeline on ruckman Paddy Ryder’s return — he is struggling with achilles tendinitis — but Gray said the club had coped before and needed to revisit those times.
Ryder was out for all of 2016 when he was banned because of the Essendon supplements scandal and Port Adelaide found a way to be competitive without its key ruckman back then.
“Ideally, Paddy would be out there but we went through that a few years ago (in 2016) when he had a year off so we got used to things then, without a big ruckman like him,” Gray said. “We think it’s going OK. The numbers stacked up OK on the weekend; we just didn’t stand up under pressure as much as we would have liked.
“To Essendon’s credit they put an enormous amount of pressure on us and we coughed the footy up a bit.
“We certainly refer back to it. You have to change some things — Paddy had a super year last year, so you change some things. It’s a massive game for us. We just want to respond after the disappointing performance on the weekend.
“Geelong is a super team and have been for a long time so it’s going to be a good challenge.”