Ken Hinkley hits back at David Koch's comments about Port Adelaide

·Sports Reporter
·5-min read
Ken Hinkley and David Koch are pictured side by side.
Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley has publicly claimed to have been assured of his job in 2023, despite Power chairman David Koch calling for sweeping changes. Pictures: Getty Images

A defiant Ken Hinkley says he believes his job is secure after Port Adelaide boss David Koch made a bold public statement about the Power's future amid a mediocre AFL season.

Koch vowed on Monday that 'something has got to change' after the Power tumbled from a preliminary final run last season to an unremarkable 12th on the ladder with two games left to play.

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Finals are out of the picture in what has been a disappointing season for the Power, who were slow out of the gates to start the season before staging a decent run to catch up with the likes of Hawthorn and the Gold Coast Suns.

While Koch told FiveAA he was more than prepared to make sweeping changes amid 'the worst finish that we have had in the last 10 years', however Hinkley says he is confident he won't be a part of them.

Hinkley has coached the Power since 2013, guiding them to an additional two preliminary final runs in 2014 and 2020.

The veteran coach told Fox Sports he had held numerous conversations with Port Adelaide, including Koch, in which he had been given assurances about his place for 2023.

He said he and the club were 'on the same page', though he conceded a review of their football department was in order.

"I've been given enough assurances throughout the season, not that I need them ... I'm very much comfortable with what I do and what my role is," Hinkley said.

"There's never a problem, Dave and I have regular conversations all the time.

"Broadly the conversation was we'll assess our football program and so we should ... (but) there's some comfort in the fact that we've all been on the same page the whole way through, I can't stress that enough, we've all been on the same page."

Koch had earlier been adamant that 'we are not afraid to make change' after the Power sank to a 38 point loss to Richmond last weekend.

However Hinkley made it clear he felt he was going to be coach in 2023.

"When I look back and I think through ... what's been said over the last period of time, and that's David included over the last six or seven weeks ... we've all seemed to be on the same page," he told Fox Sports.

"David himself has said that he expects me to be coaching Port Adelaide in 2023 as I do, and that's what I'm preparing for.

"We all get there's a finish line for everyone at some point, but as I sit here tonight, I'm more than confident that that won't be at the end of 2022."

Port Adelaide boss David Koch sets expectations after middling season

Playing for pride against a similarly struggling Essendon this weekend, the Power could finish as high as 10th if results fall their way.

The results of Port's final two games of the season - against Essendon and Adelaide - could play a huge role in deciding Hinkley's fate.

"I'm not going to give you the answer that you want because it's not appropriate at this time," Koch said when pressed about Hinkley's future.

"We've got two games ... that we've got to focus on and try to finish the year on a high and turn it around.

"This year will be the worst finish that we have had in the last 10 years and something has got to change, but that's a whole-of-program decision."

In a cruel twist of fate for Port Adelaide, Richmond's own finals hopes were kept alive courtesy of their comprehensive win ovwe the Power.

The Tigers blew open the contest with a seven-goal, third quarter burst to set-up the 16.13 (109) to 10.11 (71) victory at the Adelaide Oval.

Port Adelaide players walk off the oval after their loss to Richmond.
Port Adelaide have flagged major changes after a middling AFL season in 2022. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

It was as if the Tigers sniffed finals action again, with their maniacal attack on the ball after an even first half to take control despite losing a key backman for the entire second half.

A backline already missing co-captain Dylan Grimes had to defend the entire second half without another premiership hero, Nick Vlastuin, who was subbed out with a rib injury in the opening minute of the third quarter.

Richmond covered the limitations down back by simply denying the Power the ability to go forward and get within range.

While the Tigers had viable targets with Tom Lynch and Shai Bolton each booting four goals, the home team lacked firepower and were even forced to throw Charlie Dixon into the ruck in the second half to try to counter rampaging Tiger ruck Toby Nankervis.

Aside from Vlastuin's injury, the triumphant Tigers have other concerns with an expected striking charge against wingman Kamdyn McIntosh and possible citing of former skipper Trent Cotchin for a sling tackle.

But overall this was another example of why any premiership contender would fear facing Richmond in September as the Tigers ran the Power ragged with slick ball movement, ability to take risks to get the ball quickly to their imposing targets up forward.

With AAP

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