Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley has questioned the integrity of the AFL competition as his team prepare to host a depleted Fremantle.
The Dockers have rested 11 players for Saturday’s clash at Adelaide Oval, knowing they’ll finish top regardless of the result.
Hinkley, whose Power will miss the finals, said he understood Fremantle’s position but was concerned about the competition’s integrity.
North Melbourne are also resting nine players for Friday night’s game against Richmond in a game which has a bearing on positions in the top eight.
“I can certainly understand, as a coach, the management position the teams are in,” Hinkley told reporters on Friday.
“I have a little bit of a question about the integrity of the competition.
“Anything that I think affects ladder position, or draft position, in my view is affecting the competition’s fairness.
“If that’s the case, I’m not sure the AFL would be pleased with those sorts of results.”
Hinkley said the tactics of the Dockers and North Melbourne were within the rules.
“No-one is doing anything outside of the rules. And they’re doing everything right for their football teams, which I respect,” he said.
“I fully understand why any coach in the top eight would be trying to do what they’re trying to do, which is get themselves in the best position – the idea (is) to get in the grand final.”
Hinkley said his ninth-placed Port would still be challenged by the Dockers.
“People forget the players who are coming into the side have an incredible carrot coming in, to play well,” he said.
“They could find themselves playing in an AFL grand final (but) some of the boys are coming in to, what looks like, fill space.”