Port players lucky to avoid axe: coach

Port players lucky to avoid axe: coach
By Eurosport

13/07/2012 at 14:06Updated 13/07/2012 at 14:11

Some Port Adelaide players avoided the axe only because of the AFL club's extensive injury list.

Coach Matthew Primus said on Friday several players were fortunate to remain in the side for Saturday's home match against Essendon.

"We don't have a heap to choose from at the moment with the injury toll we have got, so we couldn't make too many changes," Primus told reporters on Friday.

"There were a couple (of changes) forced with injuries and we have made one change due to a bit of form.

"So there are some lucky guys."

Port dropped Ben Jacobs and lost Jacob Surjan and John Butcher to injury for the clash against the sixth-placed Bombers at AAMI Stadium.

Ruck Jarrad Redden, Matt Thomas and Daniel Stewart were recalled as Primus demanded a response to last week's feeble 58-point loss to Adelaide.

"Let's make sure that last week's game was an aberration," Primus said of his message to players.

"And we'll see what your performance wants to show this week, knowing that in the coming two to three weeks, we have got five or six or seven players coming back from injuries and want to push their way into the team."

Essendon also have been hit by a spate of injuries with ruckman Patrick Ryder (calf) and key forward Michael Hurley (hamstring) sidelined while Heath Hocking (suspension) will miss a match Primus believes is winnable for his 15th-placed outfit.

"Obviously, they (Essendon) are going pretty good but we think we can beat them here at home, no doubt about it," Primus said.

"And we have certainly planned towards playing a brand of footy that is going to beat them - not worrying about trying to shut them down."

"Essendon certainly are pretty good at the contest but they love just moving the ball super quick.

"So how quickly we can be really good at the contest, and how quickly we can get the ball back off them, they are the two things I really want to see our guys have a crack at."