Port coach Hinkley ready for scrutiny after finals flop

Darren England/AAP PHOTOS

Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley knows what's coming. And he knows it won't be nice.

Hinkley's Power have exited the AFL finals with consecutive losses.

After being in charge at Alberton for 248 games, he's the AFL's longest-serving coach without a grand final appearance.

The Power have lost their past five knockout finals - the latest, a 23-point semi-final loss to GWS - 13.15 (93) to 9.16 (70) - on Saturday night.

Is he feeling rising tension?

"If I was, do you reckon I would still be around?," Hinkley said.

"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 also knows scrutiny starts on selection of underdone players for the finals.

Key forward Charlie Dixon (foot) played in the semi-final after a seven-week absence because of a foot injury: he managed one goal from six disposals.

Fullback Trent McKenzie returned for Port's first final after a month out due to a knee injury.

McKenzie rolled an ankle in the eight-goal qualifying loss to Brisbane but played in the semi-final: GWS forward Jesse Hogan kicked 4.4, mostly on him.

Ruckman Scott Lycett (knee) returned for the finals after six weeks off - he rolled an ankle after gathering six touches and 13 hit outs against the Giants and was substituted.

Todd Marshall carried a hip injury, winger Xavier Duursma appeared far from full fitness after a mid-season knee injury.

Did Hinkley take unnecessary risks with injured players in the finals?

"No," he said.

"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.

"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."

Port this season recorded a club-record winning streak of 13 games, but lost six of their last nine matches.

"It's a brutal season ... the hardest part of this sometimes is being able to cope with that number of games that we have to play," Hinkley said.

"And we we fell out of fell out of form and we fell out of condition."