Port skipper Rozee certain starter in Showdown: Hinkley

Steve Larkin |

Port Adelaide captain Connor Rozee (centre) is a certain starter against Adelaide.
Port Adelaide captain Connor Rozee (centre) is a certain starter against Adelaide.

Port Adelaide captain Connor Rozee has overcome a hamstring scare and is a confirmed starter for Thursday night’s AFL Showdown against Adelaide.

Rozee didn’t finish last Friday night’s win against St Kilda, but has cleared all medical tests ahead of the South Australian grudge game at Adelaide Oval.

“There’s always a risk with any injury to a hamstring of any type,” Power coach Ken Hinkley told reporters on Wednesday.

“So you know the challenge with that is whenever they play, there’s always going to be a little bit of a risk.

“So for those people who are sitting there with the doomsday saying ‘you’re taking a big risk’ – we’re taking a normal risk with an injury like this.”

Hinkley replaced Aliir Aliir (concussion) and Sam Powell-Pepper (knee reconstruction) with Ryan Burton and Jed McEntee.

Utility Jeremy Finlayon has served his three-game ban for making a homophobic slur against an opponent but was overlooked for selection.

“Jeremy has had to do a lot of work over the last month and he’s done as much as he can possibly do,” Hinkley said.

“He’s ready emotionally to take on the next part of that challenge and that’s something he’s just going to have to work through and we’ll support him all the way through that.

“He is a resilient fella, he has been through a fair bit.

“And this is his own doing, but we expect that he’ll be able to handle most of the stuff that comes his way.”

Adelaide will debut prized No.8 draft pick Dan Curtin at AFL level, with the 19-year-old West Australian impressing his coach Matthew Nicks.

“He’s going to bring some real weapons to this game that we know are going to be important to this footy club going forward,” Nicks told reporters on Wednesday.

“We don’t expect him to come out and dominate a Showdown in his first game.

“But we feel that he’s ready, mentally and physically, to play in a game at this level.”

Curtin joins Jordon Butts and veteran Brodie Smith in returning to the Crows side at the expense of axed duo Will Hamill and James Borlase, while Luke Pedlar is sidelined by a shoulder injury.

Luke Pedlar
The Crows are hopeful Luke Pedlar’s season is not over. (Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS)

“We want to give him every possible chance to try and get himself back this year but he will miss a few weeks,” Nicks said of Pedlar.

“We won’t put him at any risk with that decision. But by no means is he done (for the season).”