Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley admits a cloud hangs over his playing group after suffering what he believes was their equal-worst AFL loss under his tutelage in a fortnight.
The Power lacked intent and energy in their 86-point defeat to Greater Western Sydney in Canberra on Sunday, barely two weeks after getting smashed by Adelaide by 58 points.
They lost every quarter and every major stat to gift the Giants their biggest win since joining the league.
Hinkley labelled it embarrassing.
“We haven’t been able to play hard enough, strong enough, for long enough when it goes against us,” he said.
“That happened to us a couple of weeks ago and it’s happened to us again now.”
Asked if it was Port’s worst outing since he joined the club in 2013, Hinkley said the same question was posed to him after their defeat to the Crows.
“They’re the questions that you’re allowed to ask and should ask,” he added.
“Is it our worst performance? I don’t know that I want to separate both performances three weeks’ apart.
“We were equally as bad.”
Hinkley said his men’s inconsistency in their ability to compete was of most concern.
“We’ve just got to demand better and stronger performances from key personnel in our footy team.
“Coaches and the leaders of the players, we have to own that responsibility and say `that’s just not good enough’.
“We lead the footy club and have to make sure we’re doing everything we can to turn that around.”
They play Geelong at Adelaide Oval next Saturday, but Hinkley admits it’s going to take more than a week to fix their mentality.
“We’ve been working at it for some time, and obviously on today’s results and the last couple of weeks you’d say it’s still got a long way to go,” he said.
“We have to continue to work in that space and be more demanding, more driven to get to where we need to go.”
Nevertheless, Hinkley said it was only round four and their 2-2 record – albeit somewhat deceiving – doesn’t leave them in the worst position.
“Next week we get to go back to Adelaide Oval, we play a really good team in Geelong and we’ve just got to be ready for the battle,” he said.
“If we’re not, we’ll find ourselves in a difficult position again.”
There’s a chance they could be without two stars, with Charlie Dixon reported for striking GWS co-captain Phil Davis in the fourth quarter and a question mark next to Robbie Gray’s off-the-ball hit on Callan Ward.
“It is frustration that brings that out, and it’s a sign again of a bit of weakness,” added Hinkley.