Port closes deal, signs Ryder

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Big news in the AFL, Paddy Ryder has completed his move to Port Adelaide, but its a complicated deal involving 3 parties and draft picks.

Greater Western Sydney's Jonathan Giles looks certain to become an Essendon Bomber for the 2015 AFL season

Paddy Ryder, Port Adelaide's new recruit, runs forward as Alex Rance gives chase. Picture: Michael Klein. Source: News Corp Australia

PORT Adelaide's 2015 AFL premiership hopes have skyrocketed with the club finally closing a deal for star Essendon ruckman-forward Paddy Ryder.

After weeks of wheeling and dealing with the Bombers, the Power pulled off a massive recruiting coup by trading national draft selections 17 and 37 for one of the game's premier big men.



Essendon immediately used pick 37 to land Brownlow medallist Adam Cooney from the Bulldogs.

Ryder, 26, is seen as the missing link to a first Port premiership since 2004 as he fills its two areas of need — a second ruckman to complement Matthew Lobbe and a third key forward to support Jay Schulz and Justin Westhoff.

Coach Ken Hinkley said Ryder would slot in nicely into the team a dual-position player.

"We think Paddy can really add a lot to our team, both to share the ruck duties and work in tandem with Lobbe to help out Schulzy and Westy up forward," Hinkley said.

"Paddy is clearly a gifted player and we believe, with the footy environment we're creating at Alberton, he can take his game to a new level.

"We wish Paddy and his family all the best with the move and we are sure the extended Port Adelaide family will make them feel welcome in Adelaide straight away."

The athletic Ryder, 196cm, has played 170 games and kicked 117 goals for Essendon since being drafted from WAFL club East Fremantle at pick seven at the 2005 national draft.

He was under contract with the Dons for two more years but walked out on the club because of the supplements scandal.

Ryder said he feared for the health of his unborn son during the drugs saga and threatened to take the Bombers to the AFL grievance tribunal if they blocked his move to Port.

Essendon has also sent selection 53 to GWS for ruckman Jonathan Giles while also getting pick 62 in return.

Adelaide wanted Giles as back-up for lead ruckman Sam Jacobs but he chose to move to the Bombers.

Ryder with his son Harlan. Picture: David Caird. Source: News Corp Australia

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Bickley gone as Walsh makes tough calls

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David Teague, playing for Carlton, tackles Port's Brett Ebert in 2005. Source: News Limited

NEW Crows coach Phil Walsh has finalised his first coaching panel, bringing in dual Swans premiership player Ryan O'Keefe and former North Melbourne and Carlton defender David Teague.

O'Keefe, who retired at the end of the 2014 season, has been appointed as a development coach while also assisting with the midfield duties.

Teague spent last season as an assistant at St Kilda but previously worked alongside Walsh at West Coast.

He will take control of the forward line after dual Adelaide premiership captain Mark Bickley told the club he wanted to pursue other opportunities next year.

This is expected to be in the media.

Bickley has, however, been retained in a marketing and promotional role.

Midfield coach Scott Camporeale has kept his job while Darren Milburn will remain in charge of the defence and Matthew Clarke the ruck.

"Ryan is a quality person who comes from a successful environment," Walsh said.

"His leadership and knowledge gleaned from an outstanding playing career at Sydney will be invaluable.

"David and I developed a strong rapport while working together at the Eagles for three years.

"He is a talented and astute young coach who will be an influential part of our team."

Bickley did not comment last night after Walsh issued a 59-second video to Crows members declaring: "There will be change in the football department - right now I am working through my coaching structure."

Walsh, who met a small group of club members at West Lakes yesterday, along with new chief executive Andrew Fagan, said in his video: "The hard work has begun, but there is much more ahead for all of us.

"The team I want to build at Adelaide this year will be based around hard work, elite standards and attention to detail, but most of all working as a team."

Walsh said he had spoken to everyone on the Adelaide player list and "I've met with quite a few".

"Make no mistake," he said, "our team has talent. The right ingredients are there, but we still need to build on that. We have two early picks in the draft and we will be using that to be bringing more talent into the club."

Originally published as O'Keefe joins Crows as Walsh sets up his team
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White embracing Showdown rivalry

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Jay Schulz manages a club record-equalling eight goal haul against the Western Bulldogs as Port go on to thrash the Bulldogs by 72 points.

Matt White has been excellent in his first season at Port Adelaide. Source: Getty Images

MATT White has played in front of 87,000 people at the MCG which for eight years was the ground he called home as a Tiger.

Now he says having 40,000 fanatical Power supporters at the Adelaide Oval is just as spine-tingling, and the Showdown rivalry with the Crows is as big as anything he experienced in Victoria.

In 105 games with Richmond, White said the biggest occasions were always against Essendon, Collingwood and Carlton but SA's greatest rivalry was just as intense.

"This year being the first time I was ever part of a Showdown - it had a finals like atmosphere," he said.

"It's a massive thing. I didn't understand the whole thing behind it when I first came over here, but to see how passionate people are about it.

Ken Hinkley says the most impressive part of his side's 128-56 thrashing of the Western Bulldogs was their outstanding defence from the second quarter ownwards

"And even inside the club it gets built up and it's an amazing atmosphere (at the ground).

"The first one (in March) was our home game and the Port crowd were ridiculously loud.

"And I'm sure the Crows supporters who will be there (this) weekend will be trying to beat it."

Unlike Showdown XXXVI in Round 2, Port Adelaide fans will be seriously out-numbered by Crows supporters who are hosting this weekend's game.

But regardless of the opponent, White said it was the majority support at Adelaide Oval which set its cauldron-like atmosphere apart from playing at the MCG.

"The big difference is the home crowd support, it's all one way," he said of the $535 million revamped city stadium.

"The ground and everything is amazing but you go into a crowd of 40-50,000 and you'll get maybe 2-3000 that are the opposition or interstaters. Where as at the MCG it was a 50-50 crowd.

"The noise of 40,000 people cheering for one club is deafening and it definitely gives us an edge having the great support we've got there."

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Crows’ selection balancing act

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Brad Crouch (centre) and Tom Lynch (left) could return to the Adelaide team. Picture: Sarah Reed. Source: News Corp Australia

UNDERDOG Adelaide faces a delicate Showdown XXXVII selection balancing act which could make or break its teetering season.

Desperate to find the 22 "even contributors'' which coach Brenton Sanderson covets, the underachieving Crows have three key players banging down the door for selection against Port Adelaide — last year's leading goalkicker Tom Lynch and brothers Brad and Matt Crouch, who they hope to build their midfield around for the next decade.

Exciting rookie-list forward Charlie Cameron will also be considered if he passes a fitness test on the groin injury which has sidelined him for two weeks while a fitness decision must also be made on playmaking defender Ricky Henderson, who failed to get through his second comeback match in the SANFL on Sunday because of a corked thigh.

Sanderson wants to find the missing parts to his stuttering engine, which has led to the club's frustrating inconsistency and threatens to derail its season.

Adelaide hasn't won consecutive games since round six, with Sanderson noting "we are a good side when we get an even contribution from the 22 players.''

"But there's unfortunately too many guys who when we win they play well and when we lose we don't see enough of them,'' he said after Saturday's nine-point loss to Essendon.

Sanderson views Lynch, the Crouch brothers and Henderson in his best 22 but the club is concerned about bringing back too many players for such a big game who haven't had a lot of AFL football under their belts.

Lynch hasn't played in the AFL since breaking his jaw against Melbourne in round seven, Brad Crouch hasn't played since round two because of a broken leg, Matt Crouch has played just one game in the big league in five weeks and Henderson hasn't played at all this season after breaking his leg in the pre-season.

"That's the juggling act we are faced with,'' Adelaide football operations manager Phil Harper said, adding he expects wingman David Mackay (mild concussion) to be available to take on the Power given the club's eight-day break between games.

"We've got some good selection options available to us this week but you do have to be mindful of the fact that some of these players haven't played too much AFL football recently. That is something we'll have to work through.''

Brad Crouch — last year's AFL Rising Star runner-up — missed the Crows' thrilling four-point SANFL win against North Adelaide on Sunday through suspension but has trained hard to force his way back into the AFL line-up after two games rediscovering his fitness and touch in the local league.

Lynch had 31 disposals and eight marks in his comeback match against the Roosters while Matt Crouch was dominant with 35 possessions.

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Port one win from finals safety

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Jay Schulz manages a club record-equalling eight goal haul against the Western Bulldogs as Port go on to thrash the Bulldogs by 72 points.

Chad Wingard under pressure from Liam Picken and Koby Stevens. Picture: Sarah Reed. Source: News Corp Australia

PORT Adelaide is one win from qualifying for consecutive AFL final series for the first time since 2005. And it is still June.

Not since the heady days of its SANFL glory seasons has the Port Adelaide Football Club been in a position to plan so early for September - even before the tax man cometh. At 11-2 and one win clear of its rivals at the top of the AFL ladder, the Power is better placed than in its breakthrough 2004 premiership season (9-4, fourth) when the players were fuelled by the pain of three years of wasted opportunities.

The argument may begin that this young Power player group still has not paid its dues ... but then did the Baby Bombers who stunned the AFL by winning the 1993 flag or the Alastair Clarkson shark hunters of 2008 who netted Geelong?

Port coach Ken Hinkley is to learn plenty of his players in the next nine weeks. Last year, he watched them thrive on the edge of qualifying for the club's first final series since 2007. Such a script is never short of motivation, week after week. This season, there is the challenge of staying on the so-called "red line" for another three months - and the danger of taking short cuts, such as protecting the body be ready for confirmed appointments in September.

Ken Hinkley says the most impressive part of his side's 128-56 thrashing of the Western Bulldogs was their outstanding defence from the second quarter ownwards

The Power players returned to their Portress at Adelaide Oval on Saturday - after taking many pats on the back for a "gallant" four-point loss to Sydney at the SCG a week earlier - needing to prove the "fat head" tag thrust upon them earlier this season by North Melbourne premiership defender David King would not resurface.

The 72-point win against the lowly ranked Western Bulldogs was pretty much all Hinkley should have expected - and everything the Power players should have demanded of themselves in a competition that punishes teams that are satisfied in June.

Port lost the first quarter by four points (after being 16 points down in time-on) but - as a sign of a team with a clear focus and unbridled ambition - won the next three quarters by 16, 32 and 28 points while key forward Jay Schulz moved closer to personal success in the race for the John Coleman Medal as the AFL's leading goalkicker. His eight goals (four in the last term) matched the club's AFL record of eight from Hall of Famer Warren Tredrea against Carlton at Princes Park in 1998.

Port Adelaide celebrate their win over the Western Bulldogs. Picture: Sarah Reed. Source: News Corp Australia

Beyond the instant headline created by Schulz's eight goals, the other telling signs in a rather predictable game were the class of Robbie Gray, the appetite Ollie Wines has for contested football and the way captain Travis Boak sets the agenda when the Power needs to make its mark on the scoreboard.

The Power did again mix a heavy focus on defence with the critically important task of entertaining a demanding supporter base by breaking the watershed 100-point barrier for the seventh time this season. But it is still June ... and the question lingers on how ambitious and self-critical are Hinkley's players who are still competing against proven men from Sydney, Hawthorn and Fremantle for the flag?

Hinkley insists they are the coach's dream - self-motivated men led by a demanding captain, Boak, who returned from the SCG noting his teammates had lost a game and cannot put in a trophy cabinet whatever respect they supposedly won by standing up against the Swans.

Jay Schulz kicked eight goals in the win over the Western Bulldogs. Picture: Sarah Reed. Source: News Corp Australia

Schulz, who endured mediocrity at Richmond and in his early seasons at Alberton, notes: "We always come into Monday knowing there are still things we need to work on. Guys will go home (on Saturday night) to watch the game knowing what they did not do well enough. We don't need (Hinkley) to come down at quarter-time to tell us what we are not doing well - a lot of the guys know it already and they are not happy with it.

"That is the good thing about this group. We're telling each other - even before Ken has to - and we get on with fine tuning things, quarter by quarter; week by week. We know there is a long, long road to go - and we have to (turn up) every week.

"The next 10 weeks (to the finals) are not going to be a drag. We love playing footy - and we love competing, particularly against the best sides ... and there are some good ones coming up. We want to win every game and the only way we can do that is by improving each week.

"We are more demanding of each other, more demanding than any other group I have been involved in. We want to achieve something together. we want to keep winning."

What more could a coach want?

"They want to be as good as they possibly can be," Hinkley noted of his group. "Their appetite is as strong as it ever has been. Very strong. And (despite the early qualification to finals) we will not take our eye off the ball."

For the record, there are still 97 days to the grand final.

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Jonathan Brown retires on doctor’s orders

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Speaking on AFL 360 Barry Hall and Cameron Mooney encourage Brisbane Lion Jonathan Brown to retire after suffering another concerning concussion

Jonathan Brown of the Lions looks on from the bench. Source: Getty Images

VETERAN Brisbane superstar Jonathan Brown has announced his immediate retirement from AFL footy.

Brown, a 256-gamer, said his decision was based on strong medical advice following his third heavy head knock in 12 months in the Lions' 45-point loss to Greater Western Sydney on June 14.

"It's a very difficult time, but at the same time I'm very happy on reflection," 32-year-old full-forward Brown told reporters at the Gabba.

"Unfortunately though, the last week or so it's become evident after my concussion last week that I don't respond or bounce back like I used to from those hits.


"I had pretty strong medical advice this week that it was in my best interest to stop.

"It's been a hard pill to swallow, even though deep down inside I knew that was the right answer."

Brown, a three-time premiership player, said his 15th season in the AFL was likely to have been his last anyway.

"You could always play that one more game, but it only takes one instance to cause some serious damage," he said.

"You have to consider the future and I've spent some time with Kylie and the kids over the past few days and that underlined for me some of the most important things in life.

"What Leppa said about 'not owing the Club anything' really hit home with me and definitely helped make the decision easier.

"I caught up with him last night and we talked through the decision and my future and I knew it was time and that the right decision was to retire."

Has Jonathan Brown made the right decision to retire from AFL footy?

Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge described Brown as "an intimidating figure".

"But he's highly respected among the footy public and players, and as intimidating as he is on the field he's just as good a bloke off the field.




"He's always willing to have a beer — probably more than anyone else — but that's the kind of person he is, a laid-back country bloke who loves to play footy and loves to have a good time with his mates.

"What he's done for football in general and also the Brisbane Lions has been enormous.

"It's disappointing the way he's finished with another head clash but that's the way he's played his footy from day dot, he puts his head over the ball."

Hodge said he tried to keep up with Brown in an off-season drinking session about five years ago.

"No good," he said. "He's a powerhouse — on and off the field."

The Lions say Brown will help the club in a mentor role for the rest of the season.


Recruited from: South Warrnambool/Geelong Falcons

Draft history: Pick 30 (father-son), 1999 national draft

Age: 32

Games: 256

Goals: 594

Honours: Best-and-fairest 2007, 08, 09; All-Australian 2007, 09; Coleman Medal 2007; premierships 2001, 02, 03; co-captain 2007-08; captain 2009-12


322 Simon Black

318 Marcus Ashcroft

289 Michael Voss

282 Luke Power

279 Nigel Lappin

273 Shaun Hart

268 Darryl White

256 Jonathan Brown

248 Jason Akermanis

222 Daniel Bradshaw


594 Jonathan Brown

496 Daniel Bradshaw

460 Alastair Lynch

307 Jason Akermanis

285 Roger Merrett


10.1 Jonathan Brown v Carlton, 2007

9.6 Brad Hardie v Carlton, 1989

9.2 Daniel Bradshaw v Melbourne, 2005

8.6 Rod Owen v Fitzroy, 1992

8.5 Jim Edmond v Geelong, 1987

8.4 Jonathan Brown v Hawthorn, 2006



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Schulz bags eight, Port boosts percentage

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Port Adelaide put an end to the Western Bulldogs run as their bogey team with an emphatic 128 - 56 win

Port Adelaide defender Tom Jonas celebrates his first AFL goal. Picture: Sarah Reed Source: News Corp Australia

PORT Adelaide will enter a late-season Showdown on top of the AFL ladder for the first time since its premiership year in 2004 after smashing an injury-depleted Western Bulldogs.

The game followed a similar pattern to Port's win against St Kilda a fortnight ago — the underdog hung in the contest early but wilted when the blowtorch was applied after halftime.


The Bulldogs suffered the significant loss of skipper Ryan Griffen to injury in the second quarter before seeing Jarrad Grant and Jordan Roughead banged up in the third.

But to suggest this was decisive in the result is a bit of a stretch because most of the best players on the ground were wearing black and teal.

Losing Griffen to back spasms was a double blow to the Dogs, with their skipper off and Kane Cornes moving onto a red-hot Tom Liberatore and taking him totally out of the contest.

Jay Schulz was unstoppable in the air and on the ground, finishing with 14 marks and 22 disposals. Picture: Sarah Reed Source: News Corp Australia

Port, like most opponents against the Dogs, enjoyed advantages in size and quality in the key positions and didn't take long to make it count.

Justin Westhoff and Jay Schulz were far too good for Mark Austin and Roughead, combining to kick 11 goals and dish a couple off. Schulz finished with a career-best haul of eight.

Schulz is only the second Port player to kick eight in a match, following Warren Tredrea's bag against Carlton in 1998.

Schulz kicked four goals in the last quarter and is the outright leader in the Coleman Medal.

Ollie Wines — laughably rated a C+ player by David Parkin last week — took the challenge of competing against one of the competition's best stoppage teams head on and finished with 30 disposals.

Matthew Lobbe showed why his absence was significant when the Power lost to the Dogs in Darwin last year by dominating All-Australian ruckman Will Minson.

Port Adelaide captain Shaun Higgins nabs Shaun Higgins. Picture: Sarah Reed Source: News Corp Australia

And likable defender Tom Logan converted a strong start into a credible performance in his first game of the season.

The Dogs had won the past seven clashes between these sides and looked like they planned on adding an eighth by jumping out of the blocks.

Port allowed the Dogs far too much ball in the first quarter and Brendan McCartney's side converted the possession into eight scoring shots from their first 11 inside-50s.

A bloodied Jarrad Grant leaves the field. Picture: Sarah Reed Source: News Corp Australia

Port worked its way back into the game with ferocious tackling — led by Lobbe and Wines, who set the tone by laying a combined 13 in the first half.

And once they levelled the game up in the second term there was only going to be one result.

Despite the one-sided nature of the contest there were a handful of moments which pleased the lowest crowd of the season to date at Adelaide Oval.

Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney says there are no excuses for his side's dismal display against Port Adelaide

Tom Jonas kicked his first goal in his 44th outing, Westhoff climbed high on the forward flank to pull down a specky and Jackson Trengove sold more candy than any key defender has a right to get away with.

But the Power didn't have it all their own way.

Ryan Griffen gets some work on the sidelines. Source: Getty Images

Angus Monfries found a willing opponent in Robert Murphy, Jared Polec took a long time to get going after missing a week with an ankle injury and Robbie Gray's ball use wasn't at its usual level.

But there's really only a bit of fine-tuning to do ahead of next Sunday's clash with the Crows, where Port expects to be bolstered by the return of Hamish Hartlett, Dom Cassisi and Jarman Impey.

Ken Hinkley's side will enter the match a game clear of Sydney and Hawthorn in pole position and will be heavily favoured to remain there.

After such a promising win against Collingwood and a strong start, the Dogs will go home to lick their wounds and look ahead to a clash against Melbourne next weekend.

Kane Cornes finds space between Dogs Koby Stevens, Mitch Wallis and Tom Liberatore. Picture: Sarah Reed Source: News Corp Australia

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Crows fall short in a thriller

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Umpires will again be a hot topic in the AFL after Ben Howlett's controversial goal for Essendon

THE roller-coaster ride continues for the Adelaide Football Club.

Brenton Sanderson's outfit last night blew a golden opportunity to win consecutive games for the first time since rounds four to six, crashing to a nine-point defeat to under siege Essendon at Etihad Stadium.

The loss means the frustratingly inconsistently Crows have followed a win with a loss for the past seven matches, leaving their finals hopes hanging by a thread.

This one hurts the most.

The upset result sees Adelaide again falling behind in the win-loss ledger, at 6-7. It has not been in front in the win column all season.

If North Melbourne beats Melbourne tonight, the Crows will be two games out of the top eight, leaving them with a mountain to climb to force their way into playing in September.

Adelaide last night didn't come to play and paid a heavy price. In an inexcusable start, the Crows conceded six of the first seven goals to quickly fall 33 points behind.

They never completely recovered.

Crow Tex Walker provided a spark up forward. Picture: Michael Klein

Adelaide fought back strongly in the second half and drew within nine points early in the final term but it could never gets its noses in front.

The Crows had their chances in the dying stages but Taylor Walker dropped a simple mark, Daniel Talia missed a kick and Patrick Dangerfield turned over a handball, blowing any chance they had of a famous comeback win.

Adelaide — playing Essendon in Melbourne for the first time in five years — came with a plan to shut down the Bombers' uncontested style of game.

At the start of the round, the Dons were ranked No. 1 in the competition in uncontested possessions, uncontested marks and short kicks.

The Crows stationed Brodie Martin and Matthew Wright as forward line taggers on Essendon defensive playmakers Michael Hibberd and Courtenay Dempsey while the Bombers tried to nullify Adelaide running backman Brodie Smith.

The task of stopping him fell to Heath Hocking.

Adelaide super stopper Sam Kerridge lined up in the middle on Essendon ball magnet Dyson Heppell.

Patrick Dangerfield looked to be struggling with a thigh problem. Picture: Michael Klein

But any plans the Crows had early were blown out of the water by their lethargic attitude.

They clearly did not come to play and were chasing their tails as soon as Brendon Goddard won the first clearance and sent a long bomb inside 50 which was marked by Hocking.

Hocking goaled and Essendon had a second on the board — through a Paddy Ryder snap after an errant handball from Scott Thompson — while Adelaide had managed just two disposals.

Far from building slowly from the backline, the Dons were playing fast, direct footy and the visitors had no answer, falling three goals behind after five minutes when Brent Stanton was inexplicably left free 50m from goal and he kicked truly on the run.

Former Bomber Josh Jenkins booted the Crows' first goal after nine minutes but he couldn't steady the ship.

Essendon — dominating the clearances — continued to run hard and kick straight.

A week after booting a woeful 10.17 in a one-point defeat to Melbourne, it kicked seven goals without a miss in the opening term to break to a 33-point lead after just 22 minutes.

Crows star Eddie Betts reacts to the loss. Picture: Michael Klein

Adelaide huffed and puffed late in the term and drew to within 18 points early in the second.

But its inside 50 entries were scrappy, it missed goals and continued to turn the ball over at half-forward.

This allowed Essendon the chance to set up its run-and-gun breaks from the back half and hurt the Crows on the scoreboard at the other end. Adelaide found some momentum late in the third quarter after a brilliant goal from Jenkins when he took the ball from the centre bounce, tucked the ball under his arm and kicked a long bomb from 65m.

The Crows booted four goals in succession before the final change to reduce the deficit from 36 points to 15 points but ultimately they left their run too late.

Adelaide forward James Podsiadly leads the Crows from Etihad Stadium. Picture: Getty

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Boak: Gus focused on footy, not drugs saga

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Port Adelaide forward Angus Monfries celebrates a goal. Picture: Sarah Reed. Source: News Corp Australia

PORT Adelaide captain Travis Boak has described Angus Monfries as iron-willed and seemingly unaffected by the latest developments in the Essendon supplements saga.

Monfries, who was traded to Port after the 2012 season at the centre of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigation, is widely believed to be one of 34 players who have been served with a "show cause'' notice by the agency.

He has declined to comment on the matter, as have all of the Essendon players.

But Boak could not speak more highly about Monfries' demeanor as ASADA has tempted players with a six-month ban and the Bombers are taking the matter to the federal court.

"Gus has been great,'' Boak said.

"We haven't spoken it at all. He's just worried about footy at the moment; he's worried about the Port Adelaide footy club and that's a credit to him.

"He just wants to go out there and help us perform and put everything to the back of his mind."

For all of that, Boak conceded it was a difficult situation to negotiate.

If Monfries did seek support, Boak said his club and teammates would be there for him.

The Swans have issued ladder leaders Port Adelaide with their second loss of the season, beating them 98-94 at the SCG.

"Certainly it's a tough situation and we don't want him to be in that situation at all but all we can do is lend a hand of support and if he needs us we're there for him,'' Boak said.

"But as I said, Gus is pretty strong-minded and he just wants to go out there and play footy.''

At Port prepared for an Adelaide Oval session yesterday morning, the club was smarting after last week's loss against Sydney and would use it as fuel against the Western Bulldogs.

But Boak said the Power held the Bulldogs in high regard and had been impressed with their upset of Collingwood last weekend.

"They're a quality side and they've had it over us for last few years,'' Boak said.

"We're expecting a very big challenge.

"They're right up there with the contested ball and the way they play their footy in tight.''

Boak's thoughts come after it was highlighted that Hawthorn great and commentator Jason Dunstall saying the Power had the ingredients to win the flag this year.

It had heartened the players, but they realised that dropping a game puts them in a more precarious position in the race for a top-two spot.

"It's great to hear those things but we were pretty disappointed just in the result and we can't control what's said out there,'' Boak said.

"But it's great to hear some positive club coming for the club.

"But we've got to make sure we continue winning because it's becoming really tight at the top.

"We need to make sure we finish the season strongly.

"This week is huge for us now.''

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Brown and out — Jonathan must walk away

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Brisbane Lions midfielder Tom Rockliff admits he has concerns over the welfare of teammate Jonathan Brown, who suffered yet another concussion on the weekend.

JONATHAN Brown must put his long-term health before his football and walk away from the game.

He is a champion but as tough and as brilliant as the big Lions centre half-forward has been the time has come for him to realise his health is much more important than suiting up for Brisbane again.

The triple premiership hero suffered another sickening head knock and concussion when Giants defender Tomas Bugg collected him with his hip in a marking contest at the Gabba on Saturday night.

It is something that is happening far too frequently to the powerful forward.

Brown's facial injuries are mounting at an alarming rate.

The 32-year-old suffered three serious facial injuries in the space of a year in 2011 and 2012.

The most horrific were the shocking collision with Docker Luke McPharlin and the knee from Lions teammate Matt McGuire in a practice match which required reconstructive surgery.

Brown's fearless kamikaze running with the flight of the ball has caused a few of the bone-crunching collisions.

Others have been through sheer bad luck.

Lions champion Jonathan Brown being helped from the ground after another head clash. Picture: Matt Roberts.

Some people joke that Brown has more metal in his face than Darth Vader. But what he has been through is no laughing matter.

I generally find it difficult to tell players what to do, preferring to see them make their own calls on their careers.

But in this case I am concerned Browny will put his team first and play out the season, rather than walk away now and safeguard his health and off-field future.

When I saw the vision of Brown's latest collision on Saturday night I instantly felt sick.

I hate seeing players lose control of their bodies though concussion, although it's part and parcel of the game.

The second thought that crossed my mind was that enough is enough for Browny.

He's had a great run, he's been a great player, but his health should now be more important to him.

My advice to him, respectfully, would be this: You've had too many concussions and you can't keep putting your body through it.

Former Carlton premiership player believes Jonathan Brown will choose to continue his AFL career despite receiving yet another head knock and will only quit if he is advised by Brisbane or his Lions teammates.

My former Port Adelaide teammate Brad Symes walked away from his successful career just weeks ago after suffering his 11th concussion.

He realised that life is bigger than chasing the pigskin around.

Symes made the tough call that I hope Brown will follow.

Like Symes, the lionhearted power forward is a husband and father. His wife, Kylie, is expecting the couple's third child this week.

As players, the focus is always on you, especially when injuries strike.

Everyone constantly asks whether you are okay and how you are feeling.

But often it's the people close to you on the outside — your loved ones — who feel the pain of the injuries the most.

My wife, Rachael, family and friends came along with me on the roller-coaster ride through my 11 football-related surgeries.

No doubt retirement is a constant thought for the Brisbane superstar.

Late last year he surprised a few when he decided to saddle up for his 15th season.

When you get towards the end, retirement can be all you think about.

"How much longer can I go on?" you ask.

Brown's 2014 form has been solid without being spectacular.

He is not the Browny of old. Father time has caught up with him.

You only have to watch the Lions play to see the service he is getting isn't what it was in the halcyon days of the early 2000s when Michael Voss, Simon Black, Jason Akermanis, Nigel Lappin and co were delivering the ball inside 50 so superbly.

Playing on to help develop Brisbane's next batch of stars has merit and Browny is a proud man.

He told Channel Nine's Sunday Footy Show that "the desire's still there to play football obviously, so you have to weigh these things up".

He followed with "I still think I can contribute enough to warrant a spot in the side".

There is no doubt about that but there is a bigger life picture than contributing on a football field.

His latest head knock should tell him that the time is right to put his long term health and family first.

His legacy won't be damaged by walking away from the game midseason.

Browny's list of achievements are the stuff dreams are made of — 256 games, 594 goals, three premierships, three best and fairests, five times leading goalkicker, two All-Australians, captain from 2007-13 and Coleman Medal in 2007.

If he retired today he would go out as one of the greats — a future Hall of Famer.

There is nothing left to achieve for him apart from mentoring the next Lions premiership. But that seems a fair way off.

Brown has given so much to the club he loves and it's now time for someone else to emerge from the big number 16's shadow and assume the mantle of being Brisbane's king of the jungle.

There is more to life than football and sometimes the most courageous thing to do is to walk away.

Warren Tredrea is Port Adelaide's premiership captain, Channel 9 News weekday sports presenter, Triple M Football commentator and Australian Football Hall of Fame Member.

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