Ken Hinkley in staggering post-match moment after Port Adelaide bounce back for AFL coach

Hinkley's future has come under scrutiny after a disappointing run of form for the Power.

Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley has choked back tears after his side snapped a three-game losing streak with a scrappy two-point win over St Kilda on Sunday to get their AFL season back on track. Pressure had ramped up on the under-fire coach over a worrying run of form that had seen them slip down the ladder and in danger of being out of top-eight contention.

Hinkley was booed by fans after being shown on the big screen after last week's 79-point hiding by the Brisbane Lions and serious questions were being asked about his future at the club. The Power's unconvincing 8.14 (62) to 8.12 (60) win over St Kilda at Marvel Stadium relieved some of the pressure on the embattled coach, and it was clear from his post-match interview on Fox Footy that a tumultuous month had taken its toll when asked for his reaction.

Pictured right is an emotional Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley.
Ken Hinkley was emotional after Port Adelaide's win over St Kilda relieved some of the pressure on him. Pic: Getty/Fox Footy

"Pretty hard ... been a tough week. Great boys - I really like the fact that we were under the pump and we just stuck at it," a clearly emotional Hinkley said as his voice cracked up. "It wasn't easy, but we got there in the end. Sometimes ... we're two points from fourth, it felt like we were on the bottom of the ladder and I get why.

"I really appreciate the fact that we've been playing poorly, but we're doing our best to keep it right." AFL legend Leigh Matthews was among those to slam Hinkley for saying his team weren't good enough this year, with club great and board member Warren Tredrea fanning the flames by failing to endorse the Power coach amid backlash from fans.

Hinkley admitted the pressure he'd found himself under was not ideal but accepted that it was part of being a head coach. And he insisted it was a role he wanted to continue in with Port Adelaide. "It's part of the job, unfortunately. You don't want it, but I want the job, so I have to put up with that."

The Port coach said he was confident he had the full support of his playing group, and it's a point skipper Connor Rozee was quick to point out Port snapped their losing streak. “There’s certainly some relief after the last couple of weeks and the club being put under a little bit of pressure, it’s nice to come out here and get back to what we do best,” he said.

“That’s one of the many challenges of AFL football, there’s the external pressure that gets put on people and it’s about locking out those outside the football club and listening to those that matter. We did that really well this week, the vibe around the club was still really up and about and we’ve got a lot more to play for.

“I think (Hinkley’s) pretty used to it by now with the Adelaide media. Our full support is behind Ken, we love him as a coach, he’s such a good mentor as well as our coach. As long as he’s at our football club he’ll have our full support.”

Seen here, Port Adelaide captain Connor Rozee playing against St Kilda in the AFL.
Port Adelaide captain Connor Rozee is seen here in a contest against St Kilda in the AFL. Pic: Getty

Port's win lifts them to seventh on the ladder, equal on points with both Geelong and Collingwood who are above them on percentage points. The Power face a couple of tricky fixtures next up against the resurgent Western Bulldogs, followed by an away game against the Gold Coast. And the Power still have games to come against the top two teams Carlton and the ladder-leading Swans, in what shapes as a challenging run to the finals.

“It wasn’t a pretty game, but I think you saw the emotion from Ken after the game,” Jordan Lewis said on Fox Footy. “It doesn’t matter how you win and he would have ridden the emotion more than anyone. These types of wins can build confidence, but certainly lots more improvement (is possible) from Port Adelaide.”


Scores were level at halftime in an entertaining duel where Port were controlling the stoppages and St Kilda were on top in turnovers. The third term descended into a turnover-fest as the pressure took hold but Port broke the deadlock with two goals late in the term.

St Kilda hit back with two early in the last, they could not regain the lead, with Jack Higgins fluffing a very gettable set shot late in the final quarter. Power forward Mitch Georgiades nailed Jack Steele with a tackle at the other end with less than a minute left to ensure the win. Power lynchpin Jason Horne-Francis' work-rate was exceptional and he was named best-afield, while key defenders Aliir and Brandon Zerk-Thatcher capped their strong games by repeatedly saving Port in the last quarter.

with AAP