Travis Boak has showed the way for Port Adelaide in the past week, on and off the field.
Power coach Ken Hinkley has revealed the captain stepped up in the days before Saturday night’s AFL win and challenged his teammates.
Despite hurting his knee in the first half, Boak was also best afield with 27 disposals against Essendon and fittingly kicked the goal that sealed Port’s 13-point win.
Hinkley said Boak’s game was “a fantastic tick” but also lavished praise on the captain for what happened in the lead-up.
“I’m always about leadership being on game day,” Hinkley said.
“(But) Travis’ performance from Monday to (Saturday) afternoon was as good as I’ve seen from Travis Boak at our football club in our time.
“His leadership – he just stepped forward and he put himself in a challenging position a number of times through the week.
“He was willing to challenge his teammates but with that he was prepared to lead the way and I thought that was really important.
“He was pretty directional with what he wanted from his teammates and what he wanted his team to represent … it was really brave of Trav.”
Port remained 12th after the win and their season remains on the brink with six rounds left.
While they improved by half a game this weekend to be two wins outside the top eight, only Geelong has a worse percentage of the finals contenders.
Port also remain well off their best but Hinkley said Boak had made it clear what is expected.
“Sometimes you’re going searching for all these answers and you’re not quite clear which one it is you should be following,” Hinkley said.
“When your captain steps up and says ‘A’ is the thing we have to do the most, I reckon it gives you some clarity and you move forward together.”
Port had nearly 100 less possessions than Essendon but one more inside 50.
Saturday night’s win followed a riveting Showdown loss to Adelaide.
The two games were an interesting counterpoint to talk that the AFL is not entertaining enough.
“We’ve provided some good looks in the last couple of weeks,” Hinkley said.
“We’ve provided some excitement for the fans and some heart (flutters) in the coaches’ box and I’m sure for the players as well.”