Jason Dunstall rips Port Adelaide over 'horrible' act as Ken Hinkley makes huge admission

A glaring issue was once again exposed for coach Ken Hinkley's Power side.

Port Adelaide's worrying defensive issues have been exposed once more, with AFL great Jason Dunstall describing some of their efforts as "horrible" in Thursday night's 36-point home defeat to Carlton. Port coach Ken Hinkley admitted his men were "spanked" at Adelaide Oval, with Brownlow medallist Patrick Cripps booting two goals in two minutes in a pivotal final term as Carlton claimed a 16.11 (107) to 10.11 (71) victory.

The Power were right in the contest going into the fourth quarter but conceded a whopping eight goals to three, including 7.1 from stoppages. Dunstall had raised eyebrows before the game after labelling the Power a “fake top four team" and he doubled down on that assessment after watching Port's midfield get dominated by the likes of Cripps and Sam Walsh - who produced a game-high 33 disposals.

These images show Ken Hinkley and his Port Adelaide players in the AFL.
Ken Hinkley's Port Adelaide defence was described as 'horrible' by AFL great Jason Dunstall during the game against Carlton. Pic: Getty

Port remain third on the ladder despite dropping to 8-4 for the season - the same record as Carlton. But Dunstall said the Power's "lack of defence" should be a real concern for Hinkley and the numbers back up that assertion. Port's defence looked to have improved earlier in the season but from rounds 6-11 they've plummeted to 15th in the league for conceding points from turnovers and are ranked 10th for points against.

“It leaked like a sieve when the ball started to go in there,” Dunstall said about Port's defence on Fox Footy. “As I said, the old fake top four team, Port Adelaide, don’t know where they go from here.” He then turned his attention to a number of defensive one-on-ones for the Power that were particularly poor.

“The Port defenders, to be brutally honest, were horrible in one-on-ones,” Dunstall added. “You could see the pressure they were facing, Zerk-Thatcher had a pretty dirty night. They (Carlton) pretty much did as they liked and probably would reflect on this game and think: ‘Probably could’ve kicked four or five (more goals), could’ve been a better night’.”

Port Adelaide's Brandon Zerk-Thatcher tackles Carlton standout Patrick Cripps during their AFL clash at Adelaide Oval. Pic: Getty
Port Adelaide's Brandon Zerk-Thatcher tackles Carlton standout Patrick Cripps during their AFL clash at Adelaide Oval. Pic: Getty

Dual premiership Kangaroos great David King agreed and said Port's inability to deal with Carlton's stoppage threat was diabolical. “It’s a problem, I’ve never seen a stoppage quarter like it. 7.1 (to Carlton) in 30 minutes of footy,” King remarked about the Blues' final term blitz. “They’ve got some gamblers Port Adelaide and some guys who are prepared to roll the dice.

“When you get it wrong and roll snake eyes, you pay a price. You just shouldn’t be able to kick 7.1 in a quarter from stoppage. It’s sight unseen for me. It’ll be the highest for 15 or 20 years, that’s the levels we’re talking about. And it’ll be against teams that are also-rans or welded to the bottom of the table. Port Adelaide at home, supposed to be legit in 2024. Uh-uh.”

Hinkley's side missed the presence of superstar Connor Rozee (ankle), while Zak Butters was rendered relatively ineffective after a hard tag from Alex Cincotta. The Power coach said while he was pretty pleased with his side's first three quarters, he admitted Port were comprehensively outplayed by the Blues in the fourth and guilty of too many turnovers throughout the contest.

“We were good (on the ball) until three-quarter time but then you’d have to say that Carlton’s midfield stepped up, they dominated from ruck to ground, and the first opportunity after that,” Hinkley said. “They were better than us, it’s hard to deny, they spanked us there. We turned the ball over more than we would’ve liked to, especially in the first three quarters, we opened ourselves up a little bit when it looked like we were through and clear...

“They were just dominant in the last quarter, so we get some more clarity on where we need to continue to chase and that’s okay. We’d prefer not to get that, but we got it. We’ve played pretty well to this point... we’re in that mid-tier that’s a big group of teams that are fighting. There’s clearly one side (Sydney) that is standing out and the rest are trying to sort it out... On tonight’s game we’ve still got a lot more to do and a lot more to sort out."

with AAP