Port Adelaide midfielder Karl Amon has defended under-fire coach Ken Hinkley, as criticism mounted after the team’s showdown loss to local rivals Adelaide.
The team is at a low point after giving up a three-goal lead in the final quarter and lose to a kick after the siren from Jordan Dawson.
The Crows and their fans celebrated after the win — their first of the season — while the Power suffered their third straight loss in 2022.
Asked about the pressure on Hinkley, Amon defended his coach.
“It’s on the playing group, the coaching group; we know we haven’t had the start we want this year.
“We can’t leave that to Ken, it comes back to the entire football club, really.”
Hinkley signed a two-year extension to his contract in January 2021, keeping him at Alberton to the end of 2023.
However, after a winless start to 2022, the Power now have to back up on Thursday against the unbeaten defending premiers Melbourne, followed by the high-flying Carlton the week after.
Port Adelaide are facing the prospect of being 0-5 within a fortnight, with the team’s finals expectations all but gone, leaving Hinkley’s future in doubt.
Former Port Adelaide SANFL player and coach (and Brisbane Bears player) Stephen Williams agreed on the ABC broadcast post-game that it wasn’t a good situation for Hinkley.
“But Port Adelaide will have to lick their wounds now and come back.
“We’ve seen Port Adelaide’s tall defenders really aren’t standing up.
“For [Lachlan] Gallant to kick four, and [Elliott] Himmelberg to kick four. That’s eight goals from young, developing forwards — it’s not going to happen when you have your best defense.”
The Power are missing Tom Clurey and Aliir Aliir in defense — the latter is Port Adelaide’s key intercept defender, but he is recovering from a syndesmosis injury and is still five or six weeks away.
Port Adelaide’s defense has been a key to their runs to the preliminary final in the past two seasons.
So far they have conceded an average of nearly 99 points a game, which Amon admitted was a concern. He described the showdown loss as “disappointing, flattening, all of the above”.
“We didn’t stand up in the big moments. Whether it’s team defence, (at fault) or the little fundamentals we got wrong.”