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Slow starts no big deal: Hinkley

Harry Thring  May 9, 2013 2:55 PM

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Jarrad Redden is a chance to take on ruck duties for Port Adelaide this week

We're not gong to make a big deal of our starts, our finishes have been strong but we'd like to think our starts can be just as good
PORT Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley says concern over his side's starts this season is over the top.

Port has lost four of its six opening terms this season and could have won its sixth straight game last weekend against North Melbourne if it hadn't given up a six goal head start to the Kangaroos in the first term.

In stark contrast, Port's opposition on Saturday afternoon, Richmond, have proven to be fast starters, winning five first quarters this year and drawing one.

But Hinkley said too much was being made of the Power's slow starts and that his players needed to instead focus on hurting opposition sides when given the chance.

"With a little bit of composure and accuracy in front of goal, we perhaps would have been two or three goals in front," Hinkley said of last weekend's opening quarter.

"Unfortunately we weren't and that's AFL football.

"You get your time with the ball and you actually spend some time defending, we've just got to make sure we make the most of our time with the footy.

"We're not going to make a big deal of our starts, our finishes have been strong but we'd like to think our starts can be just as good."

Hinkley said he had recovered well from the virus that kept him from coaching in Tasmania last weekend, an experience he described as being "frustrating".

Jasper Pittard's injury status continues to be a concern, with the young defender to again watch from the sidelines thanks to a hip flexor strain.

The coach said Pittard's injury-plagued past meant the club would take no chances with his return to AFL football.

"We thought he was only going to be a week and now it's turned into three weeks," Hinkley said.

"Jasper's history says that it's not something that we want to take any risks with. I'll sit here again and say he'll be right next week but I can't guarantee that."

But while Pittard will miss another week through injury, young ruckman Jarrad Redden is set to return to the side after enjoying sublime SANFL form.

The ruckman, who senior assistant Alan Richardson described earlier this year as having "limitless potential", booted five goals for Woodville/West Torrens last weekend.

Hinkley wouldn't confirm Redden had earned a recall prior to selection being announced on Thursday evening, but said he had made a "significant adjustment" to the team's ruck setup.

"[Redden's] a big man for a start and he obviously gives us first opportunity as far as his hands on the ball at the contest as a ruckman," he said.

"His SANFL form is great. He's kicked eight goals in his last two performances.

"It's really important that you've got a ruckman who can actually go forward and influence a game, so hopefully if he gets that opportunity he'll be able to do that."

Harry Thring for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_Harry.