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Port Adelaide…”we exist to win premiership”

Port Adelaide Prelim Final the disaster that was

If you are going to tag yourself “we exist to win premierships” then you would want to be doing so. Sadly Port Adelaide does anything but win premierships. In its time in the AFL of 21 years it has won 1 flag, so hardly fulfilling its self titled tag “we exist to win premierships”. And the loss to the Western Bulldogs in this years Preliminary Final is, after the 2007 Grand Final loss, both the clubs second worst loss and its most likely chance to play off and win a premiership. We will get to more of the disastrous AFL Prelim Final loss soon. 

The 2020 Prelim Final was a gallant loss and one that supporters can live with. Supporters are unlikely to be so kind in the wake of the 45-116 and a 71 point loss. Everything pointed to a Port Adelaide win and a AFL Grand Final berth. Their coach all but insinuated this with his bullish stance. “We’ve had the perfect lead up”, “there’s no excuses” and “we’ve had the preparation we want”. This goes hand in hand with the pre season stated position “we are ready”. We have long held the view that the Port coach simply says publically too much that he just does not have to say. This messaging flows through to its players in a negative way on the big stage and cannot be dismissed in Saturdays result.

AFL games are not won in Q1 but they can be lost

Never a truer word spoken and this rule applies strongly in finals. Simply put, Port Adelaide’s coaches and players sub consciously thought they had the game won before they had arrived at the ground. Every battle is won before it’s ever fought! In this case what about every battle is lost before it’s ever fought! The first quarter told us everything about Ports attitude. Whilst the Coach cannot go out and kick the ball for the players he is responsible for the attitude of the group. And Ports attitude was woeful and lack energy, effort and intensity. Letting Liberatore go was a massive mistake. Letting Smith play high and not following was a massive mistake. How are these for first quarter stats:

Contested Ball Bulldogs +23
Clearances Bulldogs +9
Inside 50s Bulldogs +6
Score Differential Bulldogs +37
Contested Marks Bulldogs +6…and the list goes on an on.

AFL Finals performance under Hinkley

Port is yet to win a Prelim Final under Hinkley having lost 3 and as a result has not made a Grand Final under his reign. They have a 6-4 finals win/loss record in finals under Hinkley and have played finals in 6 of the 10 years he has coached. These stats in isolation are pretty good, but not if you are the club that “exists to win premierships”. 

Port Adelaide – where to from here

Ken Hinkley has a two year contract and there are two ways to view his tenure at the club. Chairman David Koch needs to eyeball Ken and there are two conversations that he can have:

Conversation number 1: “well Ken that was a bad day but these things happen. We have made the last two Prelims and the trajectory is in the right direction. Your winning percentage at the club is very good and we will get them next year”.

Conversation number 2: “Ken we failed miserably on Saturday night and it sits with you. We have to make the Grand Final next year and if we don’t you will be looking for another job”.

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