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Inexperienced defence will hold up on Saturday night says Byrne-Jones

Lee Gaskin // AFL MEDIA  September 6, 2017 1:18 PM

Flashback: Collingwood Elimination Final 2013 - PTV Flashback to the 2013 elimination final against Collingwood.

A LACK of finals experience won't count against Port Adelaide's underrated backline, defender Darcy Byrne-Jones says.

Five of the Power's seven defenders who are likely to face West Coast in Saturday night's elimination final will be making their post-season debut.

Byrne-Jones, 21, is joined by Tom Clurey, 23, Dougal Howard, 21, Dan Houston, 20, and Riley Bonner, 20, who have played a combined 110 games.

Providing the leadership are half-back flankers Hamish Hartlett and Jasper Pittard, survivors from the Power's three-point loss to Hawthorn in the 2014 preliminary final.

"They're great leaders in their own right, but there's only so much they can do," Byrne-Jones told AFL.com.au.

"There are five of us down there who haven't played a final, so we really need to come out and back ourselves in and play confident and play hard, contested footy because that's what's going to determine the result.

"It's about trying to keep things as relaxed as possible and don't get overawed by the occasion."

The Power are without All Australian nominee Tom Jonas, who has one match left to serve on a two-game suspension.

The Power conceded the second-least amount of points in the competition this year at 75.95 per game, behind only Sydney.

While he hasn't played in an AFL finals game, Byrne-Jones was a part of Port Adelaide's SANFL side that lost the 2014 Grand Final to Norwood by three points.

"I learned a lot from that, how to handle the pressure, the build-up and all that kind of thing," he said.

"You can do your head in a bit and play the game before it's even started.

"At AFL level, it's heightened a lot, it's a lot different, but you can still learn things from that."

At 180cm, Byrne-Jones is the shortest player in the Power backline and gets tasked with playing on the opposition's best small forward.

He had to wait until his third season before donning the Power jumper for the first time, but has played 42 consecutive games since debuting against Essendon in round three last year.

"I think I've taken a few steps forward and as a group, we've taken steps forward this year as well," he said.

"To finish fifth when a lot of people in the AFL footy world didn't expect that has been great, but we've still got a lot of work to do.

"Hopefully we can take things a bit further and play a few more games in September."

Port Adelaide plays West Coast in the AFL First Elimination Final at 7.20pm ACST on Saturday 9 September. 

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