Sports

Hinkley won’t give up on Port’s season



Under-fire coach Ken Hinkley is adamant Port Adelaide can stay alive despite a fifth-straight loss – their worst start to an AFL season.

“I’m going to continue to believe that and I’m going to continue to work towards that,” a steadfast Hinkley said after the Power’s heartbreaking three-point loss to Carlton on Sunday.

“It’s enormously challenging, there’s no doubt about that, but I’m not going to give up and the team won’t give up.

“We’ll keep to task and we’ll keep going and you never know, we might get on a (winning) run just as big.”

Hinkley pointed to 2013, his first year in charge, as an example of how dramatically the wheel can turn.

Port won their first five games of that season and lost their next five before recovering to play finals.

“Does it matter when you lose your five in a row if you can win enough? I don’t know,” Hinkley said.

“But my history tells me that you can lose five in a row and still make finals.”

Port were smashed by Carlton in the first half and trailed by 50 points before twice getting themselves back within a kick during the final quarter.

Karl Amon’s last-minute shot at goal from outside 50m could have sealed a thrilling comeback, but drifted agonisingly wide and was rushed through for a behind.

While vowing not to dismiss the first-half lessons, Hinkley saw enough positives in the second-half performance to work with heading into a round-six battle against West Coast at home.

He liked the efforts of Connor Rozee, Zak Butters, debutant ruckman Sam Hayes and Amon, as well as veteran “soldier” Travis Boak.

Ollie Wines missed the Carlton game after doctors discovered a heart irregularity, but Port are optimistic the Brownlow medallist will return against West Coast.

“One thing we’ve got to be really cautious of is Ollie’s health and we’ve got to make sure that’s right,” Hinkley said.

“But as I sit here now we expect him to play next week.”

© AAP



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