Footage has emerged of Port Adelaide supporters leaving the ground well before full-time in their semi-final loss to GWS on Saturday night. Ken Hinkley's side suffered a straight-sets exit from the AFL finals after a 13.15 (93) to 9.16 (70) loss at Adelaide Oval.
The Power appeared right up for the challenge early but wilted under the pressure of the 'orange tsunami' as the Giants kicked five-straight goals in a 10-minute blitz in the second quarter. Port actually led by three points early in the term, but were trailing by as many as 33 at one stage before half-time.
'ABSOLUTE JOKE': AFL under fire over preliminary final schedule
'PAINFUL TO WATCH': Max Gawn's horror moment in Demons loss
Things didn't get much better in the second half, and the Power eventually went down by 23 points. A number of fans had seen enough early in the final quarter, with video posted to social media showing dozens of spectators heading for the exits with a whopping 22 minutes left.
"Port Adelaide fans leaving in droves with 22 minutes on the clock in the final quarter of a semi-final," Steve Rice wrote alongside the video. "Never let them take the moral high ground on leaving early ever again."
Rival clubs' fans branded the footage "pathetic" considering it was a finals game, while others pointed out that the fans who left early would have missed paying tribute to Tom Jonas. The retiring captain wasn't selected for the semi-final, but was chaired off the ground by teammates after the final siren.
The future of former captain Travis Boak is also up in the air and he may have played his final game for Port Adelaide. Social media users had a field day with the footage, which didn't exactly uphold the club's motto of 'never tear us apart'.
One person wrote on Twitter: "I remember I left the 2014 elimination final because I had work the next day and was driving. Wasn’t staying to watch Richmond get pants anymore. The abuse I copped on the way out has stuck with me for years, and Port Adelaide are my least favourite team because of it."
Considering they would have been within 12 points with over 10 mins to go if it wasn't for a missed set shot, that is weak as piss!
— Reality (@Factchecker2000) September 17, 2023
— Morp Morpie (@MorpMorpie) September 16, 2023
Leaving a home final of your team, Port fans are pathetic. Never tear us apart huh?
— Audacia Verum (@Audacia_Verum) September 16, 2023
Never Tear Us Apart! Unless we're getting beaten in a Final by a more superior GWS. LoL. Practise what you preach guys, maybe you all should have pulled the boots on and helped out.🤔🐯🐯🐯 Tiger To The End!
— TigerTamer (@Madasahater) September 16, 2023
I can never understand why fans leave early. If they had something more important to do perhaps stay home.
— Gil Maher✳️✳️ (@GMaher3) September 16, 2023
That’s strange, they said you could never tear them apart
— 💙London Balling💙⭐️⭐️ (@LondonBalling) September 16, 2023
What an appalling club
— Messiah17 (@Messiah_17) September 17, 2023
Ken Hinkley prepared to cop it after Port Adelaide exit
Port have now lost their last five knockout games, and Hinkley is the AFL's longest-serving coach without a grand final appearance (248 games). The veteran coach knows he'll cop heat after their straight-sets exit, but is fully prepared for what's to come.
"If I was (feeling tension), do you reckon I would still be around?," he said in his press conference. "That's the simple answer: no, I am not. I have got a great support crew that help me coach this football club and everyone is involved in the coaching of the football team.
"And then we've got a great group of players who are all trying to get to, ultimately, what we're all trying to get towards. This is a new group, we have worked through a lot of players. I'm not worried about what that scrutiny sounds and looks like. I get that it will come, I can't avoid that. I will handle that though. It's OK."
Hinkley dismissed suggestions he took unnecessary risks with injured players. Key forward Charlie Dixon played after a seven-week absence because of a foot injury, managing just one goal from six disposals.
"We took the risks that we had to take around what was available to us and who were the people who were capable of playing at the level," Hinkley said. "We have got some really young players who are too young to play AFL.
"And people can say, well, we had some injured players or some blokes less than perfect. I can guarantee you that if some of the replacements were put out there, that would have been a much worse result."
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.