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Port sink Richmond to secure third spot on AFL ladder

Michael Errey/AAP PHOTOS

Port Adelaide expect an injured key quartet to return for the AFL finals after securing third spot with a 31-point defeat of Richmond.

The Power's 13.16 (94) to 8.15 (63) victory at Adelaide Oval on Sunday sets up a qualifying final in Brisbane against the second-placed Lions.

The result also locked the other qualifying final, with ladder leaders Collingwood to host fourth-placed Melbourne.

Port took until midway into the last term to shrug off a spirited Richmond by kicking five of the last six goals of the game.

Fringe forward Francis Evans booted three goals and teammates Sam Powell-Pepper, Willie Rioli and Ollie Lord scored two each.

They featured in a Port attack missing key forwards Charlie Dixon (knee) and Todd Marshall (hip) while fullback Trent McKenzie and ruckman Scott Lycett, both recovering from knee surgery, were also absent.

Coach Ken Hinkley says the influential four will be available for Port's first final.

"We're going to be in a pretty healthy position come the first week of the finals," Hinkley said.

"It's a great time to refresh and recharge for your players, for your coaches, for everyone involved.

"But then also I think the nervousness, the anxiety part, starts to build pretty quick that you're coming into a big part of the season, but we look forward to that.

"I'm not frightened of it. I mean, it's a bit scary playing finals but you earnt the right and you have just got to embrace the opportunities."

Richmond finished 13th and now accelerate their search for a coach.

After Damien Hardwick's mid-season departure, Andrew McQualter stepped in as caretaker for seven wins and six losses.

McQualter said he would interview for the position within a fortnight.

"I have loved the opportunity I have been given, feel like I have grown a lot in the last three months," he said.

"Like any time you start a new job, even though I had seen it first-hand for a while, I was pretty green, so I have learnt a lot."

On Sunday, Richmond great Dustin Martin was superb with an equal game-high 33 disposals including seven inside 50s and a goal.

McQualter said the performance highlighted how invested Martin was at Richmond.

Some have speculated the triple premiership hero and three-time Norm Smith medallist could be a target of Hardwick, now at Gold Coast.

"It's really clear that you can't play the type of football Dustin has played without being so heavily invested in the football club," McQualter said.

"I just think he just he loves it, he cares about winning so much."