Sam Powell-Pepper's decision to stand down for Port Adelaide's AFL clash with Geelong on Saturday was made without pressure from the club, coach Ken Hinkley says.
The midfielder served a one-match suspension imposed by the club last week following an incident at an Adelaide nightclub earlier this month.
On Thursday, he ruled himself out of this week's clash while a joint investigation by the club and the AFL continues.
Hinkley praised the 20-year-old for a "really mature decision" and said it was made in the interests of the team.
"He's obviously not in the headspace that he probably feels like he needs to be in," said Hinkley.
"It's caused him some grief and some concern, which it should have, but he's dealing with it and he'll handle it."
Hinkley said Dougal Howard, Justin Westhoff and Charlie Dixon would again share the load in the ruck against the Cats in the absence of injured big man Paddy Ryder.
The trio rotated through the position in last week's 22-point loss to Essendon, sparking calls for Hinkley to play one of Port's younger ruckmen.
Hinkley said all three had been preparing to play ruck during the week, but he would not confirm who would start in the role on Saturday night.
"They do spend their whole week, all of them, doing a bit of preparation in the ruck," he said.