Bitterly disappointed Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley has labelled Saturday’s 64-point loss to the flying Western Bulldogs as the worst in his three years at the AFL club.
The 19.14 (128) to 9.10 (64) capitulation at Etihad Stadium officially extinguished the 12th-placed Power’s slim finals hopes in a year where they had been expected to challenge for the flag.
In contrast the Bulldogs are now right in the race for a top-four finish.
“We have been really consistent with our effort and today our effort was nowhere near good enough,” said Hinkley.
“We were physically and mentally beaten up today by a young exciting team.
“We caved in today and we haven’t done that before.”
Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge labelled his team’s effort as “outstanding”, while stressing they had still not guaranteed a spot in the September action.
The Dogs went into the match without skipper Robert Murphy, Jason Johannisen and Jordan Roughead.
But it didn’t matter.
“There really is that pressure for spots in the team and that is really healthy,” said Beveridge.
“The boys today played really well but they know that Murph will come back into the side next week … that keeps (the players) on the edge.”
Port Adelaide kicked the opening three goals of the match, but Hinkley said once the Dogs lifted their workrate, Port could not challenge.
“They outnumbered us massively and how you get outnumbered is by workrate,” he said.
“Our workrate was not at AFL level today and I am really disappointed with that.
“We played like a side today that was waiting for somebody to give us the knock-out blow.”
The Bulldogs continued to get great returns from their multi-pronged attack, with Jack Redpath (four), Jake Stringer (four), Tory Dickson (three) and Stewart Crameri (three) combining for 14 goals.
Port’s only multiple goalscorers were Chad Wingard and Jay Schulz, who managed two majors apiece.
Hinkley said he was looking forward to learning which of his players would stand up in the final month of the home and away season.
“To see how tough we really want to be, because I think in my short time we have been tough on our terms, a bit too often, and not when it is going against us,” he said.
“We have been choosing to play easy footy and it’s a recipe for disaster, and that is why we are where we are.
“I want to see who wants to stand up when there appears to be little light.
“Let’s see if you really what to want to come and compete every week of the year.”