Port clinging on to slim hope
PORT Adelaide midfielder Brad Ebert says Power players are still giving themselves a slight chance for finals it prepares for Essendon in its final home-and-away season match at Adelaide Oval on Friday night.
The Power's chances all but evaporated as it lost to Collingwood in an ugly last-quarter fade-out at the MCG last Saturday that has been slammed by Carlton great Mark Maclure as "pathetic" but the club is hanging on the slim hope that it can beat the Bombers and the Gold Coast can come up with an upset against Geelong at Kardinia Park.
The bookmakers say it's not a chance that scenario will play out: Ladbrokes is offering just $1.01 for the Cats to win and $21 for the Suns.
The line has been set at 75.5 points.
But Ebert said Port's main focus was still to put itself in the position to have that slight chance of playing in September and had not closed the door on the season.
"We have this week to go and we're pretty keen to finish off the regular season well," Ebert said.
"And who knows? We're not losing sight of (the fact) that obviously it is going to be tough to make the finals but hey, there's still a chance.
"So for us, we're not just giving up the season.
"We had a tough session yesterday and we're making sure that we put everything on the park tomorrow night just to make sure that if the Suns beat Geelong we've still got a chance.
"We're not putting the queue in the rack at the moment and talking future lists and changes.
"We're making sure we're finishing it off well and who knows what can happen from there."
Maclure took a swipe at Port Adelaide for its slide from top-four contender at 11-4 to also-ran after losing five of its past six games.
"It was a pathetic performance from a side who were supposed to be vying for a final," Maclure said of Port's loss to Collingwood on AFL 360.
"There's something wrong with the coaching, there's something wrong with the direction they are going.
"They are not tough enough. It's Robbie Gray, or bust."
Ebert also conceded the club had broken down in the midfield this year when All Australian Paddy Ryder had either broken down or been required in attack.
Part of it was missing Ryder's influence, part of it not being good enough at reading the opposition ruckman when he wasn't there.
"The way we've gone with Paddy this year - he's sort of been in and out a fair bit - we have been reliant on Paddy as a ruckman a fair bit," Ebert said on TripleM.
"When he goes down I think as a group we probably haven't been able to adjust to that well enough.
"That's probably a big factor. Even the last few weeks when we haven't been able to adjust to Paddy playing forward more often than not.
"We probably haven't been able to read the opposition as well as we should have and played off that situation."
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