PORT Adelaide has hit another hurdle in its fight to get back into the top eight mix, with fresh injuries further souring an eight-point loss to Fremantle on Sunday night.
The Power are refusing to give up on an unlikely climb back into contention after their 0-5 start to the season but will need to push forward without young gun Lachie Jones for up to a month after the NAB AFL Rising Star nominee suffered a hamstring injury.
Wingman Xavier Duursma is also battling a quad issue after being withdrawn late against Fremantle, while Dan Houston suffered a leg knock in the fourth quarter that will need to be assessed during the week.
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Coach Ken Hinkley was optimistic about Houston and Duursma's chances of facing Greater Western Sydney next Saturday but conceded Jones was set for a stint on the sidelines.
"I imagine he's going to miss three or four weeks," the coach said after a thrilling final-quarter fight back fell short at Optus Stadium.
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"Dan basically got a knock so we'll assess that and see how we go. I'm optimistic about Dan.
"(Duursma) was getting warmed up (and) we took the risk away. Playing on a Sunday night and with a quad on his kicking leg, we just couldn't afford to take the chance."
With his team now two games and significant percentage adrift of eighth-placed Sydney, Hinkley acknowledged his team had a huge challenge ahead to secure a finals berth.
Having recovered their season from a 0-5 start, however, he said the club would refuse to give up.
"It's incredibly tough, let's not be silly, but it's incredibly tough from 0-5 and we stuck at it and we haven't lost sight of what we're doing. We won't start that today," Hinkley said.
"The players believe and I believe that next week is the most important week for us. We've just got to keep ticking away. Footy does crazy things at some stages.
"I think we're in pretty reasonable form, but we're starting from a long way back. No reason for us to give up."
Missed shots late from Todd Marshall and Robbie Gray – two of the team's most accurate goalkickers – robbed the Power of a thrilling win after falling 40 points behind in the third quarter.
Hinkley said the pair would be his first and second choice to have the ball in such scenarios, but poor finishing had cost the team.
"They're great players and they have been great players; Todd this year particularly and Robbie over the journey," he said.
"Rob's won us that many bloody games, I'd be a bit hypocritical (to complain) if he missed one today.
"But I'm sure Rob would have felt he wanted to kick it and so would Todd. Footy's tough, you've got to finish off when you get a chance."
Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir acknowledged his team "got lucky with a few missed shots" but praised his players for digging in and playing some of the best football of their season through periods.
The coach was unsure of the extent of Matt Taberner's hamstring injury, which required him to be substituted early in the fourth quarter.
He praised the midfielders for responding to last week's centre bounce beating against Carlton and getting the game on the Dockers' terms through the middle stages on Sunday.
Captain Nat Fyfe played predominantly across half-forward and worked up the ground from there, taking a "step forward" as Longmuir tries to maintain an element of surprise with how he utilises his dual Brownlow medallist.
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"We'll play it by ear. I'm not going to give opposition a head-start on what we're doing with Nathan Fyfe every week," the coach said.
"It's supposed to be a secret some of this stuff, (but) I get asked 15 questions a week on Fyfe's game time and split. Give him a break. We want him back to his best and it will take some time.
"(His flexibility) has to be an advantage."