Crunch game looms in Port's AFL finals bid

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Port Adelaide will give their AFL finals chances a serious lift if they can upset high-flying Geelong at Adelaide Oval.

Having gone 4-4 since a four-game win streak revitalised a stuttering season, the Power remains one of five teams separated by one game in the race for eighth on the ladder and knocking off the Cats might be the exact spark they need.

Port coach Ken Hinkley is back in the hot seat after missing last weekend's clash with COVID-19, the Geelong clash kicking off a vital three weeks for his side as they also prepare to meet Collingwood and Richmond .

He took at least some confidence from the Power's earlier clash with the Cats where they led at halftime, but said they'd need to be sharp converting chances to test them on Saturday.

"This is the team that's clearly the best team in the competition currently ... but we do take some confidence that our best football can certainly challenge them," Hinkley told reporters.

"But we know anything short of that you'll be in some trouble too.

"It wasn't like we were totally blown apart at any point in the game, we just didn't make the most of our opportunities that we had.

"You open up gaps and you close gaps based on your completion rate, and our completion rate at times has let us down."

Hinkley backed in forward Mitch Georgiades to tidy up his accuracy, having kicked 5.9 in his past six outings.

Geelong, riding an eight-game win streak, lose Sam Menegola to concussion protocols, but otherwise retain the rest of a side that looked truly powerful knocking off Carlton by 30 points last weekend.

Having conceded six goals to Melbourne small forward Kysaiah Pickett, Hinkley admitted tying up X-factor Cat Tyson Stengle would be just as crucial as stopping some of Geelong's power forwards.

But despite outside criticism of his team-based defensive approach rather than sending a man to the red-hot Pickett, Hinkley said he would once again back in his system.

"He's really been a really good player for Geelong ... there's language around All-Australian teams, you don't get that if you're not a damaging forward, kicking 30-odd goals," he said.

"We put him in the bracket of 'must be watched' along with (Tom) Hawkins, along with (Jeremy) Cameron, along with (Gary) Rohan.

"The team takes care of the roles we have to collectively, at times that will mean an individual will be matched up against individuals ... but you do break down and break down badly when you get too singularly focused."

Port recall Jed McEntree after some impressive forward pressure at SANFL level, while Hinkley backed Jase Burgoyne to sturdy his defence after dropping the more-seasoned Riley Bonner.

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