Port fans give head coach Ken Hinkley some advice as he leaves the field after the Brisbane loss. Image by Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS
  • Australian rules football

Port coach Hinkley vows to fight on under AFL heat

Steve Larkin June 28, 2024

Coach Ken Hinkley says he’ll cop the criticism and fight his way out of Port Adelaide’s form funk.

Hinkley says being put through the wringer again isn’t pleasant but insists his voice still resonates with Power players.

“I have been brought up a fighter, that’s what I’ve been brought up,” he told reporters on Friday.

“That’s what I will do.”

Hinkley dismisses any notion of burn out in his 12th season at the helm of Port, believing reasons for a current slump run deeper.

“If it was too fatiguing, I wouldn’t be here,” he said.

“It’s OK. I deal with it. I know it’s part of the territory.

“The reality is, I understand that the amount of time that I’ve been here, the pressure will continue come my way if we drop off in any way, shape or form.

“Is that right or wrong? It’s not for me to judge.”

Hinkley was pragmatic about scrutiny on his tenure following Port’s meek 79-point loss to Brisbane last weekend.

“That’s fair and reasonable to talk around it,” he said.

“But the reality is, for me, it’s not a one-man show.

“It’s a team and it’s a team approach and everyone’s involved with it.

“But, yeah, I get the attention turns to me as the head coach and I accept and I deal with that responsibility.

“So I’m OK with everything that is going on.

“I’d much prefer to be talking about how good we’re playing … the reality is we haven’t been winning so the attention gets turned up.”

Port travel to play St Kilda on Sunday on a three-game losing streak.

But despite the recent gloom, Hinkley’s team hold eighth spot, two wins shy of second-placed Carlton.

“It’s hard because everyone talks around the outside noise,” Hinkley said.

“And we do our absolute best to block that out, sometimes it’s nearly impossible to block it entirely out.

“But they’re professionals and they know what they’re here to do and they’re here to play football, our coaches are all here to work, make them better.

“The players are doing their best to turn that around for us.

“We’re really calm about what we need to do and we have just got to get about doing it.”

Hinkley said his personal approach was identical.

“My reaction is pretty simple, it’s pretty straightforward, it doesn’t change,” he said.

“I have to go to work and do my absolute best in the footy club and help the footy team and the footy club get back on track.

“Every team at some point through this season bar one has had a time where they haven’t played anywhere near what they’d like to.

“And it’s currently our turn and we’ve got to turn that around quickly.”