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Dees expect AFL battle with desperate Port

Melbourne are bracing for a fierce physical encounter with Port Adelaide, who desperately need a positive result to get their AFL season back on track.

The Power have come under huge pressure during a winless start to the season and the knives are already out for coach Ken Hinkley after last week’s Showdown heartbreak against Adelaide.

But Demons coach Simon Goodwin won’t be lulled into a false sense of security ahead of Thursday night’s encounter with a side that has reached preliminary finals in each of the past two seasons.

“It shows you how tough the competition is to win,” Goodwin said.

“You’ve got a team that’s won the most games in the last two years of any club in the competition and they’ve had a tough start to the year.

“Their form is still be pretty solid and they’re playing some pretty good, contested footy, so we’ll have to be at our best in that space.”

Both Melbourne and Port Adelaide enter their Adelaide Oval meeting off successive six-day breaks.

“We’ve been able to handle these situations for the last couple of years really, really well,” Goodwin said.

“We’ll certainly lighten the load a little bit within our training but we’ll continue to train contests.

“It’s a part of our game that we know needs to be really strong against Port Adelaide.

“They might be 0-3 on the ladder but they’re an outstanding footy team, an outstanding footy club and well coached.

“We’ll respect them for everything that they’re going to give.”

Melbourne boast a strong record at Adelaide Oval with five wins in their past six visits, including a 31-point win over the Power last July.

The Demons also beat Brisbane in a qualifying final at the venue, which was their preferred option when they were unable to host matches at the MCG because of COVID-19 restrictions.

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