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When critics were taking pot shots at Port Adelaide, coach Ken Hinkley told them to hold their fire.
For much of the AFL season, pundits were questioning the Power's premiership credentials.
Port lost to Brisbane (by 49 points, round seven), the Western Bulldogs (19 points, round nine), Geelong (21 points, round 13) and Melbourne (31 points, round 17).
The inability to defeat flag fancies offered ammunition to critics, leading to Hinkley's oft-repeated line of Port being a good team, but not yet great.
"I said 10 or 12 weeks ago: wait until the end of the year," Hinkley told reporters on Friday, the eve of Port's preliminary final against the Bulldogs.
"Wait and judge us when we can get all our people that we need on the team playing well together, give us some continuity back together and we can play at a high level.
"I said we were playing as a good team, we weren't playing as a great team at that stage."
The defeats came amid a spate of injuries to key players, with Zak Butters, Xavier Duursma, Robbie Gray, Connor Rozee, Orazio Fantasia among those to spend weeks injured on the sidelines.
And only in the last home-and-away game did Port manage to beat a top-four side: the Dogs, by two points.
Now, Port are the shortest-priced favourites to win a preliminary final and Hinkley is at ease.
"You get a bit anxious but nerves is not the thing because our preparation is all done from a coaching point of view," he said.
"We have had two weeks to be prepared for it so we're probably a little bit impatient.
"You are always excited about this time of year ... we're getting to play in a prelim final - every dream that you have at the start of the season is to be playing in this game."