Port Adelaide’s AFL win over premiership favourites Hawthorn was as irritating for the Power as it was impressive.
It begs the obvious question – where was Friday night’s form through the middle of the season as their finals hopes faded?
Coach Ken Hinkley could only laugh when his post-game media conference opened with a query about the frustration of their win.
“How come I knew that was going to be the question?,” he said
“There clearly is, but we haven’t been good enough all year.
“We are where we deserve to be.
“We played good footy (on Friday night) though, so we should be proud of that.”
Certainly Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson said he was bemused that Port are 10-10 and out of finals contention.
The Power have beaten Hawthorn in three of their last four games and only lost last year’s preliminary final by three points.
“We know when we play our best football, it causes them some frustration,” Hinkley said.
“It doesn’t mean we’re always going to beat them – they won the most important battle we’ve had – (but) it’s just good we were able to execute our plan for large parts of the game.”
But for all the disappointment of a season gone begging, Hinkley said Port is a strong club and he expected his players to close out the season with better form.
One obvious highlight this season has been Chad Wingard, who starred on Friday night with four goals despite a heavy bump from Luke Hodge.
“He gets it done, doesn’t he (and) I think he locked himself into the team that comes out later in the year,” Hinkley said of Wingard’s likely All-Australian selection.
Robbie and Sam Gray, Paddy Ryder and Jack Hombsch also starred in the win.
Another standout was defender Nathan Krakouer, who subdued Cyril Rioli after also restricting Adelaide star Eddie Betts in the round-16 Showdown.
“He’s done really well against two enormously-talented players,” Hinkley said.
“He’s just a really composed footballer and he has the agility those boys have.
“He can actually stay with them at times.
“He’s quite aggressive, which is what’s really important when you play on those fellas.”
But Hinkley was bemused that Brendon Ah Chee cost Port a goal at a crucial stage in the last quarter when he handballed, rather than having a set shot.
“I was a little bit confused as to why he went for the handball, I’ve got to say,” he said.
“But ‘Arch’ is a fantastic story … and kids make mistakes.”