Port Adelaide players after the loss to Melbourne in round 17, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

HAVING lived it at the famous 2016 Western Bulldogs, assistant coach Brett Mongomery is warning not to write off Port Adelaide's flag hopes.

Montgomery's Power sit in fifth spot after another sobering defeat, a 31-point loss to Melbourne last Thursday night.

Port has only lost five games but four have been to the sides higher on the ladder.

Montgomery says flags aren't won in July - as proven in 2016, when he was an assistant at the Bulldogs, who finished seventh then peeled off four-straight finals wins to take the premiership.


"If you do get five or six weeks right, things can really turn for you," he told reporters on Monday.

"Momentum and confidence. We have shown at times that we can generate that.

"But even when we have beaten teams that are below us, we haven't played four quarters.

"And clearly against the good teams we don't look like we can generate that momentum.

"There is still a fair stretch of the season to go."

Port's playing stocks are rising despite concern for Zak Butters, who suffered a knee injury last Thursday night - his comeback game from ankle surgery which sidelined him since round four.

Halfback Ryan Burton is expected to overcome groin soreness for Saturday night's away clash against St Kilda.

And wingman Xavier Duursma, also out since round four because of a knee injury, made his return in state league ranks last weekend.

Xavier Duursma on the sidelines after suffering a knee injury. Picture: AFL Photos

Club stalwart Hamish Hartlett is also pressing for a recall after a strong SANFL game but triple club champion Robbie Gray (knee, five weeks) and recruit Orazio Fantasia (knee, three weeks) remain longer-term injuries.

Montgomery said there were no alarm bells at Alberton despite the heavy loss to the Demons continuing their struggles against top-four opposition.

"They (Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, Brisbane, Geelong) are all better teams than us right now," he said.

"We're the fifth-best team, with work to do.

"There were some clear parts of the game where we allowed the intercept game of the Demons to take a hold of us ... some lack of polish and class and composure on our part as well.

"That has not always been the feature of our other losses. It was certainly a big part of this one.

"We walk away knowing we still have the game, with some returning soldiers and some tightening of a few things, that we won't be far away."