THE AFL clubs' commitment to the new AFLX format has again come under scrutiny after Port Adelaide has withdrawn star player Robbie Gray because of hip injury from tonight's Hindmarsh Stadium event.
Gray was set to captain the club in his first game since overcoming cancer last year before he and a string of other high-profile names were late scratchings on the eve of the tournament.
Former Demon Jack Watts will captain in his presence.
Power fitness coach Ian McKeown said Gray reported a sore adductor after training on Tuesday.
"We assessed him again this morning and, given the time of year and his importance for the season ahead, we decided not to risk him tonight," McKeown said.
Gray will be joined by Tom Clurey, Todd Marshall, Jasper Pittard and Trent McKenzie on the sidelines after they were all included in an extended squad earlier this week.
Football manager Chris Davies said the choice of off-season signing Jack Watts to lead the side - the first time he represents the Power - had been a logical choice. "Jack's really excited by the opportunity," Davies said.
"It's a unique honour for him to be captaining Port Adelaide in his first official game wearing our jumper.
"Jack is the most experienced player in our AFLX squad and has demonstrated leadership skills across his first pre-season here at the club so he is a logical replacement for Robbie."
Gray and the other players are all said to be in the selection frame for Port Adelaide's opening JLT game against West Coast at Perth's Leederville Oval on Sunday week.
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