Port Adelaide players have been ‘hit between the eyes’ but we’ve got Ken’s Hinkley’s back: Scott Lycett

PORT Adelaide ruckman Scott Lycett says the players are “all-in” and have Ken Hinkley’s back amid mounting pressure on the coach following their 0-3 start to the season.

The Power slipped to their third straight defeat to start the new season with Friday’s after-the-siren four-point loss to Adelaide, leaving their finals hopes already in a precarious state.

Since the competition expanded to 18 teams in 2012, only two out of 28 sides who have been 0-3 have made the top eight. Neither of those two sides made the top four.

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Port lost preliminary finals in 2020 and 2021 and were expected to contend again this year, with their poor start putting heat on Hinkley who has been at the helm since 2012, leading the side to five finals campaigns without ever making a Grand Final.

“The players are all in. We’ve got his back,” Lycett told reporters on Monday.

“Everyone cops it (criticism) at some stage of their career. It’s part of the game. It’s just about how you take it and what you do with it.

“We’ve been hearing the noise … We hear the supporters. We’re on the same page. We understand Port is a club that expects success … We’re doing everything we can to go out there and get them a win on the weekend.”

Lycett rebuffed any suggestion there were lingering scars from last season’s humiliating preliminary final exit when they lost by 71 points at home to the Western Bulldogs.

Aliir Aliir and Charlie Dixon after Port Adelaide’s 2021 preliminary final loss to the Western Bulldogs. Picture: Getty Images

“I don’t think so. We’ve had a really good pre-season,” he said.

“We thought we were in a pretty good spot and obviously we’ve been hit between the eyes in the first three rounds.

“There’s 22 rounds in a year. We’ve lost three in a row and the first three of the year. We can easily turn it around quite quickly.”

Port will face a stiff challenge to avoid slumping to an 0-4 start, which only Sydney in 2017 have come back from to make finals since 2012, when they host reigning premiers Melbourne on Thursday.

Port Adelaide players after the round three loss to Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on April 1, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Lycett denied they should treat it is a “do-or-die” game and insisted making finals was still realistic.

“You should go into every game wanting to win and having the same mindset but we understand where we’re at,” he said.

“I think we can make finals for sure. We haven’t started well but it’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish.

“I’d rather be having form at the end of the year, than the start because that’s where it matters but we understand we need to get a wriggle on.”

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