Port coach not dwelling on AFL ladder

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Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley says it's futile to ponder an AFL ladder which shows his club's season slipping away.

The Power are 12th and three wins out of the top eight entering their home clash against seventh-placed Sydney on Saturday.

"It makes every game you get coming up immediately super important for us and we understand that," Hinkley said.

"And we get that and there will come a time when things will become outside your reach.

"If that was to be the case, I would talk about it then but not now.

"Now, it's too much to be gained this week for us to take our eye off the ball."

But a closer inspection of the ladder reveals just why Port has slid from a pre-season premiership fancy to their current predicament.

Only three teams have scored less than the Power this season - Essendon, North Melbourne and West Coast, the bottom three on the ladder.

Hinkley's team, while ranked the fifth-best defensively, average just 73.6 points a game and have cracked the 100-point barrier only once, against the last-placed Eagles.

"There has been a few reasons with personnel and with the way we have played," Hinkley said of the lack of scoring.

"There has also been a few reasons with the places we have played at so it's not just as simple as one thing.

"We have been very good defensively but we do need to put some scoreboard pressure on.

"And against a side like Sydney, who are a great attacking side and have been a really strong defensive team, your balance has to be right both ways.

"But you certainly can't take your eye of defence otherwise with the talent they have in their front half and through their midfield they will certainly put a score on you."

Sydney's attacking stocks have been boosted by Lance Franklin's return from suspension while Harry Cunnigham has recovered from an abdominal strain suffered in round seven. Joel Amartey and Robbie Fox were dropped.

Port will be without Robbie Gray (knee), Travis Boak (COVID-19 protocols), Trent Dumont (calf) and Steven Motlop (omitted) with Hinkley summoning mid-season draftee Brynn Teakle, Jackson Mead, Mitch Georgiades and Martin Frederick.

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