Relieved coach Ken Hinkley says Port Adelaide are “miles off” living up to their billing as an AFL flag fancy.
Hinkley’s Power banked a third consecutive victory on Sunday, a hard-fought 24-point triumph against arch rivals Adelaide.
But Hinkley says the win – 18.7 (105) to 13.13 (91) – masks some serious problems that need fixing for Port to be rated a premiership contender.
Port prevailed over the Crows despite having less scoring shots and entering their attacking 50 metre arc a whopping 29 times less than Adelaide.
“There are some non-negotiables in football that you have to be really strong at if you’re going to be a top team in the competition,” Hinkley said.
“And if you don’t get that right, you run a risk – and we’re still running the risk, by the way, in some of those areas.
“We understand that … the inside 50 count against is clearly one of them.
“We can’t play footy like that … that is not the way you can play sustained football against quality opposition.”
The inside 50 differential came a week after Port lost that count by 36 to Hawthorn – yet won that game too.
“We’re a long way off where we absolutely want to be … we’re not quite getting it done the way we like,” Hinkley said.
“Sometimes you have just got to hold up. And I reckon that is really good for us, that we have shown now over a couple of weeks that we can hold up over real pressure coming at our backs.
“I’m really pleased with three (wins) and two (losses) … we have had an incredibly hard start to the season.”
Port, with forward Jay Schulz slotting five goals and Paddy Ryder kicking three, were able to hold off a gallant but wasteful Adelaide, who fluffed a series of shots at goal.
“It’s simplistic to say that is the whole game,” Crows coach Phil Walsh said of the poor goalkicking.
“But that was a major contributor to the scoreboard in the end … we were our own worst enemy unfortunately.”
Walsh said kicking efficiency was his main problem at the Crows, now with three wins and two losses and concern over key midfielder Rory Sloane, who suffered a calf injury.