Port's Hinkley tips test from AFL protege

Steve Larkin
Coach Ken Hinkley has downplayed his duel with former protege Matthew Nicks ahead of the Showdown

Port Adelaide's Ken Hinkley says his coaching duel with one-time protege Matthew Nicks will have little influence on his AFL club's grudge match against Adelaide.

The South Australian rivals clash at Adelaide Oval with Nicks, who spent six years as Hinkley's assistant at Port, now in charge of the Crows.

But Hinkley downplayed their detailed knowledge of each other having much impact during Saturday night's battle of the arch-rivals.

"We both understand each other a little bit," Hinkley told reporters on Friday.

"But we both get that it's the 22 players that makes the difference, not either of us.

"He (Nicks) is young and with his team, he hasn't been with them for a long period of time.

"So this 12 weeks (between games) has probably got them some real bonuses, I reckon, as far as learning a little bit more about their game."

Nicks admitted he had taken much of Hinkley's style into his fledgling career as a head coach.

"I know him really well and I know what he likes, in the way he likes to coach," Nicks told reporters on Friday.

"He's a very good coach and I have taken a lot of stuff from him, a lot of my learnings are from Ken, so huge respect."

Port were round-one winners but the Crows slipped to a three-point loss to Sydney when badly beaten at the clearances.

"We had the benefit of spending a lot of time over this break working on that, both from the theory point of view ... and also from a training point of view," Nicks said.

"When we have been able to put some match-play on the field (at training) we have more than beat each other up.

"So I'm confident we have done some really good work in that space.

"But the true test is Saturday night. And we're up against a very good opposition that are in good form and it's a Showdown, so who knows."

And Hinkley said from his understanding of Nicks, the Adelaide coach would have been hammering the need to improve at the clearances.

"I expect a totally different approach, or a more demanding approach, for us to get it right to beat the Crows like they got beat in round one," Hinkley said.