Port recruit will handle AFL heat: Hinkley

·2-min read

Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley has not felt a need to remind his players to look after Orazia Fantasia when the goalsneak confronts his former AFL club Essendon.

Port recruit Fantasia's output against the Bombers is a fascinating sub-plot to Saturday's twilight fixture at Adelaide Oval.

The Adelaide-born Fantasia spent seven years at Essendon before crossing to Port at the end of last season.

"It just makes you a bit nervous, it's against your former teammates," Hinkley told reporters on Friday.

"We have seen it enough now in the game, the game is so much more used to players changing clubs.

"And Orazio's reasons for leaving Essendon wasn't because he's unhappy so much with Essendon. It was more about wanting to be home with his family.

"He has made that quite public. Essendon totally understand that - but I'm sure they won't want him to do well and we do want him to do well, so it will be an interesting outcome."

But Hinkley said he had not reminded his team to keep a collective eye on Fantasia when Port chase consecutive wins to start their season against first-up losers Essendon.

"I don't have to say anything. They will look after him," Hinkley said.

"He is part of us. We talk about bond and the connection we have as a group, and Orazio is part of that bond and connection."

Hinkley has summoned his vice-captain Hamish Hartlett to replace injured winger Riley Bonner, who will miss up to six matches because of a hamstring tear.

But the Power coach resisted the temptation to select brilliant utility Connor Rozee, who had foot surgery two-and-a-half weeks ago.

"We have made a call based on the recommendation of the surgeon," Hinkley said.

"If you ask Connor, he would say 'why aren't you picking me, I'm ready to play'.

"We are making decisions based on long term, and that is for one more week to be safe."

Essendon named an unchanged side, with skipper Dyson Heppell listed despite having a scan for a tight back on Friday morning.