Pittard says rivals are Power hungry

Written By Unknown on Selasa, 03 Juni 2014 | 12.50

Port Adelaide defender Jasper Pittard fronts the media. Picture: Sarah Reed Source: News Corp Australia

PORT Adelaide is finding life at the top tough.

Defender Jasper Pittard has admitted the first-placed Power has become a victim of its own success and is having to deal with rivals becoming more physical and putting more work into its players and game plan.

With a stunning 9-1 record, the hunter has become the hunted, he says.

"Definitely — that's what happens when you are top,'' Pittard said when asked if the players were getting more game-day attention than usual.

"I suppose in the past few years it's been Hawthorn, Sydney and Fremantle because you are chasing those teams, trying to combat them and maybe trying to play a little bit the way they do.

"Now that we are at the top of the ladder teams are putting a bit more focus on us and wanting to come over and knock us off, which is understandable.

"That's another good challenge for us because every week we are now faced with a new challenge and we try to enjoy that as much as we can.''

Bottom-eight side Melbourne tried to rough Port up in Alice Springs on Saturday while flying wingman Jared Polec was the latest Power player to be targeted by a tagger, with veteran Daniel Cross restricting him to a season-low 10 disposals.

Port Adelaide defender Jasper Pittard is put through his paces at training. Picture: Sarah Reed Source: News Corp Australia

Port, which had to fight hard to beat the Demons by 20 points after being headed in the final term, is bracing itself for another tough day in the office against 16th-placed St Kilda at home on Saturday.

While the 3-7 Saints are wobbling after a bright start to the season, they are coached by Power coach Ken Hinkley's former right-hand man, Alan Richardson.

Pittard noted no other senior AFL coach would have as much intimate knowledge of the Port players and the team's game plan.

"Richo has some inside knowledge on us, so it's going to be another tough one for us,'' he said.

"He knows a few of us quite well and the way Kenny wants us to play, so he will be able to combat that pretty well.

"His knowledge of us will be pretty fresh but we've tinkered with a few things over the pre-season, so we'll be able to bring a few different things hopefully.''

Pittard said while the players had noticed the lift in opposition pressure in recent weeks, he said the players had embraced the challenge and were treating it as "a good thing''.

"Because it gives us something to hone in on every week,'' he said.

"We know that teams are going to come out pretty hard against us every week because they want to knock us off, but I think we play our best footy when it's a real physical game and teams come at us — we like that.''

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