Hinkley slams 'soft' Port after AFL defeat

Justin Chadwick
West Coast have posted a 42-point win over Port Adelaide in their AFL clash in Perth

Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley has accused his players of being too soft at the contest after watching them slump to a 42-point AFL loss to West Coast.

The Eagles lost star onballer Luke Shuey to a hamstring injury just two minutes into the match but still smashed Port Adelaide in the midfield to cruise to the 16.6 (102) to 9.6 (60) victory in front of 50,516 fans at Optus Stadium.

Saturday's game was all but over by the 20-minute mark of the third quarter, when West Coast led by 55 points.

Port launched a brief and spirited fightback to reduce the margin to 25 points early in the final quarter but goals to Mark Hutchings and Jack Petruccelle officially ended the contest.

Hinkley was left fuming by his team's lack of hardness, with West Coast winning the contested possession battle 162-120.

"(Soft) is a fair way to describe today's performance," Hinkley said.

"One side was really strong in the contest and one side wasn't.

"As I said to the boys, the game starts and stops at the contest. You bandaid the rest if you don't get that right.

"You can't compete in AFL football if you get badly beaten in contested possession."

Eagles forward Jack Darling starred with three goals and six contested marks, while Josh Kennedy made the most of his chances to boot four goals.

Jack Redden (32 disposals, eight clearances), Andrew Gaff, Mark Hutchings, and Elliot Yeo dominated through the midfield, while Willie Rioli (16 possessions, two goals) played an important pinch-hitting role to cover Shuey's absence.

The win improved West Coast's record to 6-1 but they face a tough schedule during the next three weeks when they take on GWS (away), Richmond (home) and Hawthorn (away).

Coach Adam Simpson said Shuey had battled tightness in his other hamstring during the week and he wasn't sure how many weeks the star midfielder would miss.

"For the players to come off a six-day break and get it done one man down, I was really proud," Simpson said.

"Probably the biggest thing here was contested possessions. Plus 40, we haven't done that for a long time."

Port Adelaide were touted premiership fancies at the start of the year following their aggressive recruitment spree.

But three losses from their past four games have left the Power (4-3) on shaky ground.

Hinkley said midfielder Sam Powell-Pepper was a good chance to return next week after tallying 25 disposals and two goals in the WAFL on Friday.

Powell-Pepper's three-week AFL ban for a drunken night out ended last week but Hinkley wanted the 20-year-old to build up his fitness and form.

"I thought his performance last night ... was exactly what we probably missed a bit of out there today," Hinkley said.

Former Lion Tom Rockliff also pushed his case with 31 disposals and a goal.